Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 34, No 2 (2015)

Saving the Canadian Muslim Woman: The Story of Alternate Dispute Resolution

Maryam Razavy
Issued Date: 14 Dec 2015


Canadians have, as of late, been faced with such controversial clash of rights issues as the 2004 Ontario faith-based arbitration debate, the more recently proposed Quebec Charter of Values, as well as the ongoing hijab and niqab debates that continue to garner their collective attention. In the case of the Ontario faith-based arbitration debates, while the issue related to all religious traditions, the ensuing narrative around the case focused heavily on the Islamic faith alone, often symbolized by the “repressed” Muslim woman. The emerging sense is that the underlying objective, emblematic of these types of measures, continues to be a “saving” of the desolate Muslim woman against her patriarchal, aggressive husband whilst at the same time protecting esteemed “secular” values. Naturally, this stance begs whether or not the Canadian Muslim woman indeed needs “saving” and whether or not these “secular” societal values offer the best route to salvation.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v34i2.29229


Ahmed, Leila. 1992. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Ali, Syed Mumtaz. 2003. Islamic Institute of Civil Justice and Muslim Court of Arbitration.

Bano, Samia. 2007. “Islamic Family Arbitration, Justice and Human Rights in Britain.” Law, Social Justice, and Global Development Journal.

Berger, Benjamin. 2002. “The Limits of Belief: Freedom of Religion, Secularism, and the Liberal State.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 17(1): 39–68.

Boyd, Marion. 2004. Dispute Resolution in Family Law: Protecting Choice, Promoting Inclusion.

Bruker v. Marcovitz, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 607.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, R.S.C, 1985 Appendix II, no. 44 See also Part I (Ss. 1 to 34) of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Congrégation des témoins de Jéhovah v. Lafontaine (Village). 2004. SCC 48.

Fournier, Pascale. 2005. “Dossier 27: The Reception of Muslim Family Law in Western Liberal States.” Women Living Under Muslim Laws.

Government of Ontario. Arbitration Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 17.

Greifenhagen, Franz Volker. 2004. “North American Islamic Feminist Interpretation: The Case of Surah 4:34, with a Comparison to Christian Feminist Interpretation.” Studies in Religion 33(1): 51–70.

Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, Jane I. Smith and Kathleen M. Moore. 2006. Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hammer, Juliane. 2008. “Identity, Authority, and Activism: American Muslim Women Approach the Qur’an.” The Muslim World 98(4): 443–464.

Hirsch, Afua. 2010. “Fears over non-Muslim’s Use of Islamic Law to Resolve Disputes.” March 14.

“Islamic Sharia Council.” 2010.

Law v. Canada [Minister of Employment and Immigration], [1999] 1 S. C. R. 497).

Mernissi, Fatima. 1975. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in a Modern Muslim Society. Cambridge: Schenkman.

———. 1991. The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, [2006] 1 S.C.R. 256, 2006 SCC 6.

“Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT).” 2008.

Ogilvie, M. H. 2003. Religious Institutions and the Law in Canada. 2nd ed. Toronto: Irwin Law.

Ontario Human Rights Commission and Theresa O’Malley v. Simpsons-Sears Ltd., [1985] 2 S.C.R. 536.

Penney, Jonathon and Robert Jacob Danay. 2006. “The Embarrassing Preamble? Understanding the Supremacy of God and the Charter.” University of British Columbia Law Review 39(2): 287–331.

R. v. Edwards Books, [1986]

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103

R. V. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30

Razack, Sherene H. 2004. “Imperiled Muslim Women, Dangerous Muslim Men and Civilized Europeans: Legal and Social Responses to Forced Marriages.” Feminist Legal Studies 12: 129–174.

———. “The ‘Sharia Law Debate’ in Ontario: The Modernity/Premodernity Distinction in Legal Efforts to Protect Women from Culture.” 2007. Feminist Legal Studies 15: 3–32.

Ryder, Bruce. 2008. “The Canadian Conception of Equal Religious Citizenship.” Law and Religious Pluralism in Canada, edited by Richard Moon, 87–109. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Saad, Sheikh. 2010. Interview with Sheikh Saad. Telephone Interview.

Shachar, Ayelet. 2008. “Privatizing Diversity: A Cautionary Tale from Religious Arbitration in Family Law.” Theoretical Inquiries in Law 9(2): 573–607.

Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, [2004] 2 S.C.R. 551, 2004 SCC 47


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: [email protected]

Privacy Policy