Below is the presentation TDMEA made in Ottawa, Ontario, along with an opening statement by the President of TDMEA to the Senate on May 17, 2000.
MUSLIM OBJECTION TO BILL C-23 ACCORDING
TO ISLAMIC LAW (SHARIAH) AND ITS
CONSEQUENCES FOR SOCIETY
THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
WEDNESDAY 17 MAY, 2000
(Dr. Mobarak Ali)
TORONTO DISTRICT MUSLIM EDUCATION ASSEMBLY (TDMEA)
Sound Education Sound Society
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page 1
Introduction ....... 3
Preamble of Muslim Concerns ..... 3
The Concept of Spouse ... . 3
Implications, Ramifications and Consequences for the Term Spouse ... 4
Recommendations 6Concluding Remarks.. . . 6
Ladies and gentlemen, I greet you with the universal salutation of peace from the Merciful Lord.
On behalf of the Muslim community of Toronto represented by the TDMEA, we are as pleased as we are grateful to participate along with other concerned citizens, groups and organisations of this great country in deliberating policies, statues, and laws that have direct and lasting consequences on our lives and the larger interests of society.
Every day we witness, sadly, that something is being done, almost deliberately, to undermine the sacred institution of marriage, the sanctity of the family and the valuable traditions of our society. It is boldly done under the guise of all kinds of deceptive tactics and ruse. Bill C-23 represents a clear manifestation of the systematic and institutionalised undermining and destruction of the family and traditional values in society.
This Bill has very serious ramifications, not only for Canadian Muslims, but all concerned Canadians who share, cherish, nurture and have laboured through generations after generations to preserve, promote and defend the sacred traditions of religious values, the sanctity of the family and core values of society.
Bill C-23 is flawed and constitutes a direct attack, ridicule and assault on the sacred institution of marriage, the family and the valued traditions of a truly civilised society. We from the Muslim community therefore strongly object to this Bill. It is a step in the wrong direction and sends the wrong signal.
PREAMBLE TO MUSLIM CONCERNS
In Islam as with other religions, spousal (husband and wife) relationship can only take place in the context of a marriage proper between a male and a female. This is a lawfully constituted heterosexual relationship which does not recognise other forms of conjugal/sexual activities as legal, whatever their euphemisms.
Moreover, marriage entails both a moral and legal contract entailing enormous duties and heavy responsibilities from both spouses, first to themselves and family and then to the greater good of society.
As with responsibilities and obligations, there are also special rights, benefits and privileges that are conferred only to the married in order to strengthen the institution of marriage and the treasured and perennial values of a progressive and sound society.
In Islam, the privileges of the biological parents (mother and father) and the family cannot be shared but in exceptional and compelling cases only as designated by the Shariah (Islamic Law) itself. Under no circumstances, claims, pretensions, or concoctions therefore should these rights, privileges or benefits be transferred, misappropriated or expropriated to some other devised or contrived entity, whatever their epithets.
THE CONCEPT OF SPOUSE
In all the languages of the world the essential meaning of the term spouse is either the husband or wife in a properly constituted marriage. The husband categorically refers only to the male gender or sex and the wife is no other than his female counterpart in marriage.
It is no coincidence that the term husband in itself, in the context of a family, refers to the man in relation to his wife in marriage proper; and vice versa for the term wife. This relationship cannot exist or take place in any other context.
Based on its definition, Islam insists that spouses can only mean the husband (male) and wife (female) in a lawfully constituted marriage. No other group, entity or agent can be legitimately ascribed the term spouse. Thus, the properly constituted married are the only rightful heirs, inheritors, or beneficiaries to any rights, benefits or privileges conferred upon them by society because they alone contribute to the higher purpose of the preservation and promotion of societies through their duties of legitimate procreation as civilised human beings.
IMPLICATIONS, RAMIFICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF BILL C-23
Since only in a properly constituted marriage spouses (husband and wife) exist, it follows that all other groups or categories are not entitled to this epithet and therefore cannot expropriate or share in their exclusive benefits.
Thus, those who wish to live together as sexually active partners cannot be called spouses. This would be absurd, confounded and create utter confusion not only in the usage of the term itself but would also have very serious consequences for society. It would raise the questions of duties and responsibilities and more seriously, rights, benefits and privileges.
A heterosexual pair that simply chooses to live together does not constitute spouses in the true sense of the term because their union was not based on a properly constituted marriage. They lack both moral and legal validity and commitment. Their relationship therefore cannot be recognised or sanctioned as spousal. This kind of relationship is no other than the promotion and glorification of promiscuity, adultery, fornication and moral corruption.
If the case of a heterosexual relationship not founded on the requirements of a properly constituted marriage is an illegal spousal relationship, what can be said about other forms of sexual relationships? More pointedly, what is the status of those who chose to be homosexuals or lesbians?
Consistent with the term spouse, none other that the married are entitled to this categorisation. Thus, the parties of a common law relationship can be properly called, "pair", "couple", "partners", "companions", "mates", "friends", and such terms but not "spouse", not "husband" or "wife".
It follows therefore that the agents of a homosexual relationship are no other than those self same terms used for a common law relationship. More seriously, in a man-man or woman-woman relationship involving sexual activity, who is the husband and who is the wife? Where is the family?
People also indulge in sex with other beings or things. What confounded situation is this to refer to them as spouses who qualify for family benefits. To do so would be to usurp, expropriate and misappropriate the rights and privileges of the married; it would be a blatant and vulgar attack on the sacred institution of marriage and the family in society.
Homosexuals/lesbians negate themselves, negate the family, negate society and negate all human existence and the higher societal duty of procreation. Homosexual lifestyle is the promotion of moral corruption, degradation and the nihilation of human beings. Encouraging, rewarding or promoting it in any way is wrong and unacceptable.
Those who chose a relationship outside the realm of marriage proper in which only a male and female union is lawful must understand the consequences of their actions. Those who are common law can chose to marry or chose to remain common law, but they cannot claim the status and the attendant rights and privileges of the married.
Homosexuals and lesbians have the same choice and their case is far more serious since their relationship presents a direct danger to society. There is no justification under any pretence or pretext to expropriate the rights of the properly married to other categories. They cannot choose to be what they want and claim the rights, benefits and privileges of the properly constituted married.
This is not something difficult to understand. This is not only common sense; it is logical, fair and just. There are many examples to refer to right here in Canada.
Reflect the case of a visitor, a foreign student, or even a landed immigrant vis-ΰ-vis a Canadian citizen. None of them can take the privileges and rights of the Canadian citizen. All the others do not compare although the closest category to approximate the benefits of the citizen is the landed immigrant. If it is question of human rights, equity, fairness, tolerance and all the conveniently chosen buzzwords, why not start with the immigrant? Let him have the same rights of citizens without changing his status. After all he helps to build this nation just like the citizen, if not more so. Why then is he being discriminated against?
Similarly, the closest to the family structure is the common law relationship because of its necessary heterosexual basis and the ability or potential to procreate and promote human existence not negate it. If homosexual relationship cannot compete for the rights and benefits accorded even to common law relationship, what then is the basis for insisting that the rights and privileges of the properly constituted married be expropriated to them? The fact is that there is no valid basis for their claim.
Bill C-23 is not "all about fairness"; it is to confound and confuse the issue. Bill C-23 is a public wrong and it must be publicly condemn and opposed. Moreover, simply expanding the Bill to be inclusive of other types of relationship is not the answer. What is at stake here is the status of the properly constituted marriage, the sanctity of the family with all their attendant rights, responsibilities and privileges, and the kind of society we wish to promote.
Conferring marriage benefits and marriage-like privileges to unqualified groups not only blurs the important distinction between the properly constituted married and those who are not, but directly serves to undermine the special status of the married. If we say that we intend to confer rights and incentives of licensed drives to unlicensed ones in this country, does this tacit act of recognition of the latter not have direct consequences for the lawfully constituted licensed drivers? Should we then not make immigrants also enjoy the same benefits and privileges of citizens if it is a question of fairness? What about incest and paedophiles? Where do we stop in this slippery slope of absurdity and madness?
What we should be doing as responsible officials and citizens is to develop policies and statues to strengthen and promote the sacred institution of marriage, the sanctity of the family, and the valued traditions of society, not weaken or undermine them.
The higher interests of society are directly at stake and are being boldly challenged. We from the Muslim community therefore strenuously object to any policy or statue, including Bill C-23, that would have the effect of undermining the sacred institution of marriage, the family structure and the valued traditions of a truly civilised and advanced society.
· Bill C-23 should be scrapped.
· Invest the scarce resources of this country to promote policies that would strengthen the sacred institution of marriage, preserve the sanctity of the family and defend the valued and treasured traditions of society, not undermine them.
We truly hope that the policy makers would appreciate the enormous responsibilities they have assumed and the sacred public trust that is at stake here. We caution against the pursuit of reckless political correctness and the rampage of a powerful few. We need to work together for the higher good of society and humankind. Nothing should be done in any way, shape or form, directly or indirectly, which undermines the sacred institution of marriage, endangers the rich family traditions and attack the core values of society. We continue to show a keen interest in the affairs of our country, but we cannot accept or support what is manifestly wrong.
I thank you.