Sunday, July 5, 2009

Multiculturalism, Human Rights, and Britain's 85 sharia courts

The think tank Civitas profiled and condemned 85 British sharia courts. Since it is ‘extremely difficult” to gain access to these courts, the report references fatwa’s, or religious rulings, “run out of or accessed through mosques in the UK. These give a “good indication of the rulings of sharia courts in Britain. Examples are, “a Muslim woman may not under any circumstances marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam; such a woman's children will be separated from her until she marries a Muslim man; polygamous marriage (i.e. two to four wives) is considered legal... a husband has conjugal rights over his wife, and she should normally answer his summons to have sex (but she cannot summon him for the same reason); . . . [and] a wife has no property rights in the event of divorce” These rulings undermine Britain in several ways. But they, most obviously, do not violate the laws of every nation.

First of all, by denying the right of legal protection to its female citizens, it alienates them from the British community. The rulings, a Muslim representative noted, are only valid if both sides agree. But Susan Okin, who writes on the incompatibility of multiculturalism and feminism has noted that most female oppression takes place in private. If her family pressures her to drop out of school to marry she may be so isolated from the opportunities and protection of western law accepting the ways of her subculture may seem like the only opportunity. As Civitas argued, the Islamic tribunal “may be the only tribunal the man will accept.” In Canada Muslim women stopped the imposition of legally binding Islamic arbitration. But notice that this effort stopped sharia in the west, not in an international space.

Worse yet, a spokesperson for the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal said that the courts were an opportunity to “self-determine disputes.” The “self-determination” language comes from the League of Nations. It refers to separate nations determined by a distinct people. That is it refers to international matters. Under multiculturalism, however, this language is used to mean that nations within western nations have a right to self-determination. And, herein, we see a distinct legal system within a western nation. We have to ask, “What is next?” In Canada there is already a Canadian Islamic Congress. Will we see an Islamic Parliament? Will there be a Muslim Prime Minister in Britain? In asking these questions we see how having a parallel legal system threatens the sovereignty of the West. But notice that this move does not threaten the sovereignty of an imagined international space, it threatens western nations.

Civitas’ director, David Green said, “Our system is based on moral and legal equality or it is based on nothing.” This culturist truism only grazes the issue of sovereignty. Britain must only recognize British law. “The IK’s highest court has ruled that sharia law was “wholly incompatible” with human rights law. The House of Lords granted asylum to a Lebanese woman on this basis. Though culturism agrees in general, the language used herein also reduces western sovereignty. Britain is a nation with a distinct evolved tradition, heritage and culture. Islamic law is distinct from British law. Human rights law, though based on western thought, is also a foreign legal construct held together by those allied with the UN. Britain needs to stand up for British laws or it will disappear. Rather than adopting international or multicultural tenets, Britain must be culturist.

All opposed to sharia law in the West will condemn the existence of Islamic courts in Britain. Yet most cling to the language of ‘human rights.’ Readers please ask yourself these questions, “Is human rights language more often used in favor of the West or against the West?” If you are not in favor of the United Nations, why do you support international rights language? Is there a way to support the concept of international rights without supporting the United Nations and undermining our sovereignty?” As ‘human rights’ language is western, we are the only nations that take it seriously. As with ‘multiculturalism’ other nations ignore ‘human rights’ and turn them on us as a weapon. There is not question that the West would be better off replacing the use of multiculturalism with culturism. Would it better protect the West to replace ‘human rights’ language with culturist language?

Human rights language has recently come close to toppling Iran. Were they called, western rights, it might not have caught on as well. Yet, I am troubled by the use of international language in western disputes. The international space of the UN is also very much against us. We are told to side with the Palestinians with indifference because their 'human rights' are being violated. We are not to take sides as all else do. Herein human rights language means we must be neutral. We must be aware of language. When should we use culturist talk of western rights? Should we ever use 'human rights' language? I know we definitely should not use such language when it comes to asylum claims. Multicultural rights to self-determination back Sharia courts in western nations. What other examples come to mind?
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