Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jordanian Newspaper Editor Longs for "Canadian-Style" Democracy But Fails to Idenfity the Major Impediment to That Dream

Editor Jumana Ghanimat was most impressed when Harjit Sajaan, "a man born in India," was tapped to become Canada's Defense Minister. "In Canada," she writes,
citizenship and loyalty is embodied in public service, regardless of [a citizen's] origin and race. No element [in the state] has an advantage over another element, except regarding the extent to which it contributes to building the nation. Today, when we look at any Arab country, we see that what predominates in the discourse there is conflict, the [non-acceptability] of disagreement [between components of society] and rejection of the other, instead of coexistence. Our societies have been torn to shreds by politicians – to the point where our countries are now arenas of chaos, even though part of society is still making an effort, albeit so far unsuccessfully, to unite the ranks and restore national unity. 
"So where does the problem lie? In the [Arab] societies [themselves], or in the regimes and the politicians? Everyone is part of the difficult situation in Arab societies, because these societies have not had sufficient awareness to confront the [phenomenon of] politicians who seek personal gain. The reality created by interested parties and regimes over decades, by keeping true democracy away, has contributed to this... 
"The absence of real political action, the abnegation of human rights, and the weakness of the legislative system – [that is, the elimination of apparatuses aimed at] giving the individual a sense of security and belonging – in addition to the false promises to establish civil regimes in the Arab countries, have pushed the individual to seek protection, from his sect, his race, his tribe, or elsewhere. In this way, societies have been subdivided into smaller groups, ultimately impacting the concept of citizenship, which cannot be actualized without the two conditions of rights and obligations. 
"In our circumstances, as Arabs, it is very unfortunate, worst of all because in the foreseeable future there seems to be no chance that the Arab countries as a whole will emerge from their crisis...
Unfortunately, Ms. Ghanimat neglects to identify the root cause of this stasis: sharia law, a set of laws that are inimical to democracy and hence to Arab countries moving forward in the way she would like.

According to Wikipedia, sharia law in Jordan, a so-called "moderate" Arab nation, plays out like this:
Jordan has Sharia courts and civil courts. Sharia courts have jurisdiction over personal status laws, cases concerning Diya (blood money in cases of crime where both parties are Muslims, or one is and both the Muslim and non-Muslim consent to Sharia court's jurisdiction), and matters pertaining to Islamic Waqfs.[89] The Family Law in force is the Personal Status Law of 1976, which is based on Sharia law.[84] In Sharia courts, the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man.[90]
With such laws in place, there is virtually no way that Jordan can "Canadianize" itself. That said, with the likes of Omar Alghabra gaining political influence and a growing Muslim population, there is a far greater chance that Canada under Justin Trudeau will, for the sake of "diversity" and "fairness," let down its guard and allow some elements of Islamic law to set up shop here a la sharia courts in the U.K.

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