Sharia law endangers women, says Chatelaine's Sally Armstrong

October 5, 2004

Chatelaine News Release

    TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - A man can have four wives. He can beat his wife.
He can abandon her by simply saying "I divorce you" three times. Not in
Canada, you say? Think again, says Chatelaine editor-at-large Sally Armstrong:
the Ontario government now allows the use of Sharia law as a measure for
settling family disputes.
    Sharia law is a system of Islamic religious laws accepted by many Muslims
as the divine word of Allah, and is practiced in countries such as Iran,
Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia - and now Canada - as a measure for resolving
civil disputes outside of the public courts. But according to Armstrong,
Sharia law is deeply damaging to women.
    "Under Sharia law, not only are polygamous marriages acceptable, but a
man can also beat his wife," says Armstrong. "After a divorce, ex-wives get
only three to 12 months' support, and custody of children is automatically
granted to the father."
    Armstrong believes that the use of Sharia law to settle family disputes
could be a merciless trap for refugee women who don't speak English and don't
know about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "While those who
favour Sharia insist the correct version of the religious law is fair to
women, the fact is Sharia law is not working as it is supposed to in a single
country in the world."
    Sally Armstrong offers insight into this controversial law that has taken
centre stage in Ontario's justice system.

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to relevant information, ideas and solutions. For more than 75 years,
Chatelaine has been building communities while providing leading-edge insights
into women's foremost concerns: health, food, women's issues, decor, work,
style and beauty. is the No. 1 Canadian Web site for women 18+.
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For further information: Michelle Villett, (416) 764-2828,