Interesting news from our neighbors to the north -- Ontario has decided to allow Islamic Courts to decide civil disputes under sharia. No criminal cases, no corporal punishment, and no decisions on the rights of children. Just run-of-the-mill family disagreements, inheritance, business, and divorce issues. On the one hand, it's very progressive and admirable that Canada recognizes and is trying to accomodate the desires of its Muslim residents to resolve their disputes through an arbitration process that is rooted in Islamic law. Go Leafs! On the other hand, even though the process is voluntary and subject to mutual consent as well as court ratification, there does exist the risk that Muslims who do not want to resolve their disputes through these means may feel pressured to do so in order to avoid community displeasure. In fact, the president of the Canadian Society of Muslims has already made it clear that, in his opinion, Muslims who do not choose the sharia route "for reasons of convenience would be guilty of a far greater crime." Blame Canada! Thoughts? Comments?

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