If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Who needs a Sharia divorce court in Australia?

Yes, yes, I know it's been a while but I've been flat out like a lizard drinking.

I'm finishing up my office job this week and taking 8 months extended leave to finish my PhD so naturally everyone wants everything yesterday.

I've been in this job for 5 years and, while I'm relieved that I can finally only focus on one thing, I must say I'm feeling a bit sad about going. I'm in a fairly senior position in Government with fairly close access to the head of state. What's been good about this is that I'm often the one who gets to brief the head of state about issues like this little beauty:

Muslim leaders call for Sharia divorce court

Now the last time this little issue raised its ugly head in 2005 I wrote a four page briefing on why it's all a load of crappola and advised the pollies not to touch it with a barge pole.
You see the real issue behind all of this hoo ha is that some charming men are using the fact that they were married under Sharia as a reason to deny a divorce to their wives while they happily go about life rooting like rabbits, marrying 2 or more (the more the merrier) and living a horny over-sexed, testosterone laden life in full control of all their monetary (and other- albeit probably quite small and useless) assets.
So the women, (because they are incapable of thinking for themselves), believing that they need to have a Sharia divorce because they have a Sharia marraige, either don't file for a divorce through the courts (where they can also be granted half of everything) or else agree to go to a Muslim country in order to obtain a Sharia divorce.
Even where the women have attained a legal divorce through the Australian courts, some still do not feel that they are "properly divorced".

And that's the crux of it- THEY DO NOT FEEL DIVORCED- nothing at all to do with actual divorced status or legal rights or anything remotely logical!

I have personal experience here. I can't tell you the number of times my ex tried to pull the whole "well you can get a legal divorce if you like but you will still be 'ala zemetti' because we were married in Egypt under Sharia" thing on me- and, sad to say, he almost had me there for a while.
That is until I discovered and became involved with a group of Progressive/ Modernist Muslims who do not believe that Sharia is a Quranic edict, that none of Sharia is found in the Quaran and that many Sharia laws practiced in certain Muslim countries actually violate Quranic edicts.

The real issue then is not the need for a Sharia divorce court- it's the need for a CHANGE OF THINKING and a realisation that Sharia is not the solution for everything (it is infact quite the opposite).

And that is precisely what I'll be advising this time around.

But what happens when I leave this place?
I don't want to think about it!

18 comments:

Safa said...

You have a point...what does happen when you leave this place? I'm in Egypt at the moment and just "discovered" ur blog.....hope you don't mind me poking around!

howie said...

"You see the real issue behind all of this hoo ha is that some charming men are using the fact that they were married under Sharia as a reason to deny a divorce to their wives while they happily go about life rooting like rabbits, marrying 2 or more (the more the merrier) and living a horny over-sexed, testosterone laden life in full control of all their monetary"

Finally something in Islam I can clearly agree with...

Can we set up Sharia Divorce Law for Jewish men in the USA? Sounds like my kind of life.

howie said...

TUS-

On a serious note...interpretation of the Holy Books is an enormous problem...I think both the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are guilty of the same problem...pounding and cutting on the rock until it takes a shape we can accept (or that suits our purposes).

Of those of us who consider ourselves religious...can any of us just stand up and say "hey...that just sounds like a crock of shit"...

It opens a Pandora Box...is it not all revelation? Only parts? Which parts? Who selects?

This is an enormous philosophical and life problem for those of us who care about Truth. Something I have struggled with all my adult life (when younger...I was an atheist and happy...believing filled me with confusion, uncertainty and guilt, thanks God).

Oh well

Anonymous said...

The main issue in this and other cases when Muslims are asking sharia laws, is to decide whether all citizens are equal and must comply to the same laws or they are not? Today it's divorce, tomorrow it'll be veil, day after tomorrow it'll be no interest rates, etc, etc,...but this is the core. If you are all Australien citizens than there is only one law. Otherwise, if you allow Muslims, then you must allow everybody else who wants to be treated specially.

Lilly

kinzi said...

Whew, sounds like Canada other there! This is something that really bugs me, when Sharia folk move West (or East) and want to bring Sharia with them.

Hope you will still have some 'wasta' with your former employer while studying. Good on ya, Phd indeed, sounds like further redemption of the pain of your story!

Will E. said...

hmm.. consider the divorce by court a 7'ol3 and save yourself the trouble all ye women.

Why is religion such a problem these days, I thought people chose religion.. but lately it seems that religion chooses people.

halalhippie said...

Howie "was an atheist and happy...believing filled me with confusion, uncertainty and guilt, thanks God"

LOL!

The Usual Suspect said...

Safa- welcome
Have no idea what will happen but I've told them I'm only a phone call away- so hopefully they will keep contacting me.

Howie- LOL and yes interpretation of religious texts is often where the confusion lies. It's an eternal problem isn't it- as humans (or hunams if you're a Racoon) we are endowed with free will and the capacity to make up our own minds. Unfortunately we only use a tiny minority of this capacity and our interpretations often have more to do with our social and cultural world views than rationality. The issue of "who selects" may never be addressed- there will always be those in any religion who will insist that they have the authority to dictate our interpretations.

Lilly- you're absolutely right. The crux of the matter though is that the underlying principle of secularism is that individuals can practice any religion (or not) as they choose- provided that it remains in the private domain. This notion of religion assumes that sprirituality can indeed be a matter of private consideration but for some people this separation is difficult. Those who are calling for Sharia divorce courts are unable to compartmentalise religion- for them Islam is the lens through which they live both their public and private lives- there is no separation- "Islam is a way of life"- this is when problems occur because the State sees divorce as a public issue- something to be dealt with by the courts. This issue is not just about divorce or Sharia- it is about drawing a line about what people can claim as their "rights" in a secular democracy.
Kinzi- a friend of mine wrote a fantastic letter to the paper about this and basically said that the Australian legal system is, by virtue of Quranic edict, the system that Muslims should follow in Australia.
Wille- indeed- religion should be easy- it's supposed to make us better people- unfortunately there are so many people who are too busy focussing on stupid shit like this to pay any attention to their own self betterment (OK maybe that's not a word but I've just added it to the dictionary!)

The Raccoon said...

Howie -
"was an atheist and happy...believing filled me with confusion, uncertainty and guilt"

Praise Eris, skip the guilt! :)

TUS - eeek. A heavy load on you, this is. Like Yoda, I speak. Perhaps a young one you should train in your stead?

Uhm... may this Raccoon inquire as for the theological foundations of Progressive/ Modernist Islam?

I applaud attempts at ijtihad... but am, alas, yet to find much in the Quran that can sustain a peaceful coexistance of Muslims within modern West.

There was, by the way, a recent meeting on renewing Ijtihad in the States, IIRC. I wonder if it can work out, given the youth of populations and cultural... problems... of many Islamic states.

Oh, and UK is already in the next stage of Sharia implementation:
Shariaization of schools

Roman Kalik said...

I applaud attempts at ijtihad... but am, alas, yet to find much in the Quran that can sustain a peaceful coexistance of Muslims within modern West.

The Sufis seem to disagree with you. ;)

The Raccoon said...

RK - well, some Sufi sects also practice(d?) so called "sacred pederasty". Yet other sects are bloodthirsty murderers; others yet are pacifistic mystics. As impressed as I am with SMC, I didn't find any Quranic theological basis for their particular beliefs on their website. Which is what I am looking for - a solid theological cornerstone on which actual ijtihad that would usher Islam into the 21st century could be based. Usher not as a horde of pillaging barbarians but as a productive part of "global community", whatever that may be.

To conclude - I generally agree with SMC's sentiment regarding terrorism, undermining democracy and all that... I just wish it had solid basis. Or a large/vocal/powerful following, which is generally more important.

Roman Kalik said...

Heh, Raccoon, how much of a "theological basis" does Chabad have for putting decent behavior before religious law?

On the surface, none. Digging through a great deal of the Talmud, though... plenty.

At the end of the day, it's a matter of what people interpet as being more important. And theologic basis becomes solid not by logic, but as you said it. Numbers.

So we wait, and maybe more Muslim imams will learn to watch what comes out of their mouths with the same care as they watch what goes in.

Roman Kalik said...

By the way, I mentioned the Talmud because just as the average non-Jew isn't likely to be familiar with it, or with any of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish religious texts, neither are we familiar with Muslim texts all that much. We just barely know the Koran and some sayings.

So we wait. And hope. At the end, it is not a matter of texts but of leadership.

The Usual Suspect said...

RK
"So we wait. And hope. At the end, it is not a matter of texts but of leadership."

It's a matter of both- it's a matter of leadership not manipulating text.

All seems so hard doesn't it?

The Usual Suspect said...

I'm surprised nobody has asked me what "flat out like a lizard drinking" means!

Bunch of smarties!

The Raccoon said...

*snigger* :)

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