Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration

Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration

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Edited by Anna C. Korteweg and Jennifer A. Selby
Foreword by Jocelyne Cesari
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2012
World Rights
384 Pages
ISBN 9781442611450
Published May 2012
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When the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice announced it would begin offering Sharia-based services in Ontario, a subsequent provincial government review gave qualified support for religious arbitration. However, the ensuing debate inflamed the passions of a wide range of Muslim and non-Muslim groups, garnered worldwide attention, and led to a ban on religiously based family law arbitration in the province. Debating Sharia sheds light on how Ontario's Sharia debate of 2003-2006 exemplified contemporary concerns regarding religiosity in the public sphere and the place of Islam in Western nation states.

Focusing on the legal ramifications of Sharia law in the context of rapidly changing Western liberal democracies, Debating Sharia approaches the issue from a variety of methodological perspectives, including policy and media analysis, fieldwork, feminist examinations of the portrayals of Muslim women, and theoretical examinations of religion, Sharia, and the law. This volume is an important read for those who grapple with ethnic and religio-cultural diversity while remaining committed to religious freedom and women's equality.

Anna C. Korteweg is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology with a cross-appointment to the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Jennifer A. Selby is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Situating the Debate
Foreword: Situating the Debate within Others in European and American Contexts
Introduction - Situating the Debate in Ontario

Part I. Practicing Religious Divorce among North-American Muslims
1. Practicing an 'Islamic Imagination': Islamic Divorce in North America
2. Faith-Based Arbitration or Religious Divorce: What was the Issue?

Part II. Regulating Faith-Based Arbitration
3. Multiculturalism Meets Privatisation: The Case of Faith-Based Arbitration
4. 'Sharia' Courts in Canada: A Delayed Opportunity for the Indigenization of Islamic Legal Rulings."

Part III. Defining Islamic Law in the West
5. Asking Questions About Sharia: Lessons From Ontario.
6. Islamic Law and the Canadian Mosaic: Politics, Jurisprudence, and Multicultural Accommodation.

Part IV. Negotiating the Politics of Sharia-Based Arbitration
7. 'The 'Good' Muslim/'Bad' Muslim Puzzle?: The Assertion of Muslim Women's Islamic Identity in the Sharia Debates.
8. 'The Muslims Have Ruined Our Party:' A Case Study of Ontario Media Portrayals of Supporters of Faith-Based Arbitration.

Part V. Analyzing Discourses of Race, Gender, and Religion
9. 'Sharia in Canada?' Mapping Discourses of Race, Gender and Religious Difference.
10. Agency and Representations: Voices and Silences in the Ontario Sharia Debate

Part VI. Managing Religion in the Canadian State
11. Managing the Mosaic: The Work of Form in 'Dispute Resolution in Family Law: Protecting Choice, Promoting Inclusion.'
12. Construing the Secular: Implications of the Ontario Sharia Debate

Concluding Thoughts
Conclusion: Debating Sharia in the West

List of Contributors