Toronto Sharia Conference

TORONTO – Canada, August 12th, 2005 – Over 400 people filled the ‘Earth Sciences Centre’ at the University of Toronto on August 12th. Despite three changes of venue leaving less than a week to sell tickets with no proper ticket selling process, people eagerly came to hear three brave women speak about how Sharia law is used to oppress Muslim women in Canada, Holland and around the world.

Sixty-six media people attended the press conference. Some of the news organizations present were CBC, CTV, Global TV, Omni TV, PBS, Globe and Mail , NOW magazine, Reuters, Toronto Star and Vogue.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who must live under police protection in a safe house in the Netherlands, took the risk of coming to Canada because she wanted to show her support for Homa Arjomand’s International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada.

Ayaan explained that in the Netherlands, her government plans to specifically remove family legal matters from the Dutch Arbitration Act.

Irshad Manji made a point about how the Arab cultural tradition of ‘honour’ was often behind the abuse and killing of Muslim women. She believes Muslim men use their rights as defined in Sharia law to restore their sense of honour.

Homa Arjomand, the Coordinator of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada, explained how each day in her work as a transitional counselor, she helps seven Muslim women a day to leave their abusive relationships. These experiences, plus her human rights work in Iran during the 70’s and 80’s are what motivated Homa to start her campaign. In twenty-two months, this political movement has grown from a handful of supporters to a coalition of 87 organizations from 14 countries with over a thousand activists.

The ten minute film ‘Submission’ was shown and a lively and informative question period followed. There were a couple of questions from people who supported the use of Sharia law in Canada.

At the end, all three women vowed to remain united and focused in their fight against Sharia law in Canada and around the world.

The conference was hosted by Ernie Enola.

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