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.