True story: man kills wife, stabbing her in the neck 19 times with a steak knife, is convicted of first-degree murder and appeals on basis that she was unfaithful and, as a devout Muslim, he was protecting family honour.
Nice try, and maybe elsewhere in the world Adi Abdul Humaid might have been acquitted. But the United Arab Emirates citizen made the mistake of murdering Aysar Abbas in Ottawa in 1999 and, ultimately, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected his appeal.
Superior Court Justice J.A. Doherty said that had Humaid killed his wife for religious beliefs, that alone would have been “a motive for murder.” But it was a moot point because Doherty didn’t buy Humaid’s new religious devotion and, in his 2006 ruling, concluded the story lacked credibility.
Nevertheless, the judge was concerned enough about the nature of the defence argument to write: “The alleged beliefs are premised on the notion that women are inferior to men and that violence against women is in some circumstances accepted, if not encouraged. These beliefs are antithetical to fundamental Canadian values, including gender equality.”
This is from an article in todays Star When rights collide with freedoms
Toronto academic Janice Stein is worried. Increasingly, she is speaking out about the potential for women’s rights to be trumped by competing religious and cultural traditions.
“There is no question that there is a conflict between equality rights, on the one hand, and the right of freedom of religion, on the other,” Stein writes in Uneasy Partners, an upcoming book of essays about multiculturalism and rights. “The law recognizes that conflict, but we need to ask hard questions about the balance between them.”
Well may she worry! Both here and in the U.S. women are seeing their rights and choices eroded by those who would force their religious beliefs upon us with pulpit politics.
From an article on the recent Amercian Supreme Court ruling;
Moreover, it is also unusual – likely unique in the history of the American jurisprudence – that a court’s decision has been split so clearly and precisely along the religious convictions of the justices themselves. All of the justices of the majority, and only these five, are practicing Roman Catholics. The position of the Papacy on all abortions, and its flagrant disregard for the mother’s welfare, has long been well-known.
Churches have become so intensely involved in politics it is laughable that they are still eligible for tax exempt status.
This quote in the article, from Olivia Chow, sums the situation up nicely;
“The whole issue of fundamentalism is very dangerous. It is the reading of religious tenets as the ultimate truth that tries to exert social control over women.