Canada

A judge in British Columbia has decided that Canada's ban of polygamy does not violate the country's Charter of Rights.

B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman issued his decision Wednesday, saying that while the ban does indeed violate the freedom-of-religion rights of those practising polygamy, polygamy brings such harm to women and children that they outweigh those rights.

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The Issue: The practice of some public schools in Ontario to allow Muslim Friday congregational prayers during school hours and within the school’s space for students has created controversy and aroused strong feelings amongst other faith groups. We appreciate the non- Catholic Toronto School District Board’s effort to implement “freedom of religion” by accommodating the religious needs of their Muslim students.  However the provision of school space, such as the cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School raises a number of questions which require careful conside

"My concern is the Toronto District School Board (is) using tax money to tell girls that they are second-class citizens," Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, told the Toronto Sun. He's talking about the District's decision to allow a Muslim Friday prayer session in the Valley Park Middle School cafeteria, where it forces girls to sit behind the boys, and sends menstruating girls to the back where they can only listen, but not participate.

 

Chronology: 1843 — Officially recorded year of Joseph Smith's revelation that Mormon men are allowed to have more than one wife.

1852 —The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reveals Doctrine and Covenant 132, which makes plural marriage legal in the eyes of the church.

1862 — U.S. Congress passes a bill prohibiting polygamy.

1879 — George Reynolds (LDS prophet Brigham Young's secretary) appeals his conviction on polygamy to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that the law infringes his constitutional right to freedom of religion. The justices disagree and Reynolds goes to prison.

A court case to determine whether Canada's polygamy laws violate religious protection might have been sparked by a fundamentalist Mormon sect in southeastern British Columbia, but the legal challenge will also examine rarely discussed polygamous practices among North America's Muslims. The B.C. government asked the province's Supreme Court last year to decide if the section of the Criminal Code prohibiting polygamy also contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

The killers of 16-year-old Aqsa Pervez were convicted on June 18. Mohammad Pervez and Waqas Ahmed, Aqsa’s father and brother, were sentenced to life in prison by a jury in Ontario, Canada. Aqsa was killed after being picked up by her brother from her school bus stop. She was taken to the family home where she was found dead by the police. DNA material belonging to her brother was found under her fingernails and her father confessed to the murder.

Forrest Glen Maridas is a polyamorist who believes that it is her constitutionally guaranteed right to freely express her sexuality in any form that that might take. Maridas is 34, American and a full-time counsellor at a university, although she's currently on maternity leave. She's lived with Canadian Russell Osborne since May 2005 and he's sponsoring her for immigration as a common-law spouse under the family classification. 

On May 21st, 2010, Pride Toronto Inc. decided to prohibit signs that bear the words “Israeli apartheid” from all 2010 Pride events, effectively banning the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from participating in the Pride Day parade. 

The participation of Winston Blackmore, Canada's most notorious polygamist, would be welcome in the reference case on the anti-polygamy law's constitutionality, but the chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court said Tuesday that it's not necessary. In a written decision, Robert Bauman said that not only is Winston Blackmore's participation and that of his 500 or so followers from the community of Bountiful, B.C. not necessary, there is no reason for taxpayers to pay their legal costs of participating in the reference case.

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