Marion Boyd has submitted her review of the arbitration process in Ontario and the appropriateness of its use in resolving family disputes, entitled, “Dispute Resolution in Family Law: Protecting Choice, Promoting Inclusion,”1 to the Attorney General and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. It is a lengthy and thoughtful report that carefully weighs many competing interests with respect to the use of arbitration, particularly arbitration based on religious law, in resolving family disputes and also examines relevant constitutional issues.
Independence movement in Muslim parts of Mindanao emerges in 1967, achieving autonomy for Muslims in four provinces of Mindanao after a 1989 Organic Act was enacted and a plebiscite was held in implementation of the 1987 Constitution. In 1996, a peace accord between the Philippine government (GRP) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was forged. Among others, the peace accord provides for a process of autonomy in areas identified in the Tripoli Agreement.
Pamela Cross Legal Director, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC)
Pamela Cross is a long time feminist political activist with a focus on women’s equality-rights issues.
Pascale Fournier SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School
Presently, more than one third of the world’s Muslims are living as minorities in non-Muslim countries, a fact which has posed challenges not only for the host countries but also for the Muslims themselves. Most Muslims perceive Muslim minorities as an integral part of the larger Muslim community, umma. Many insist that Muslims must be governed by Islamic law, often that of the country of origin. Home countries are expected to offer human, political, and financial resources in order for the minorities to live Islamically.
Many feminists of colour have demonstrated the need to take into account differences among women to avoid hegemonic gender-essentialist analyses that represent the problems and interests of privileged women as paradigmatic. As feminist agendas become global, there is growing feminist concern to consider national and cultural differences among women.
* This paper inevitably draws on my previous writing on the international network Women Living Under Muslim Laws, especially ‘Controlled or autonomous: identity and the experience of the network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Volume 19, Number 4, 1994, pp 997-1019. Moreover, the analysis presented owes much to the women linked through the network. Any idiosyncrasies, however, are obviously my own.
Who is to say if the key that unlocks the cage might not lie hidden inside the cage?1
If justice and fairness are inherent to Islam - as fuqaha claim and all Muslims believe - should not these virtues be reflected in the ‘Islamic’ laws that regulate the relations between men and women as well as their respective rights? Why have women been treated as second-class citizens in the fiqh books that have come to define the terms of the Shari’a?