Cartoon: From Dry Bones.
For some time the rantings of Sharia advocate Siddiq Conlon and his organization, Sharia4Australia have been rejected. Now another viper has raised its ugly head in the form of a request for ‘Koranic’ courts on the same lines as Koori courts for Aboriginal defendants who plead guilty in the far flung regions, only 'Koranic’ ones would have more scope:
Somali Community of Victoria president Abdurahman Osman said Koranic courts would maintain Islamic culture while also reducing legal costs borne by the state. "Instead of applying sharia law in Australia, it is better to have a Koranic court (like) the court Australia has for the Aborigines," he said. "That could help all African communities, especially the Somali community. …That kind of ‘cultural way’ allows for wife beating, honor killings, death for apostates, forced conversion, genital mutilation, and women being second class citizens, just to mention a few.
Indigenous defendants who plead guilty to their charges and live in certain areas can elect to have their case heard in the more informal setting of the Koori court. Indigenous sentencing courts operate in all mainland states and territories, usually as a division of the magistrate’s court.
Offences involving family violence or sexual assault are not permitted to be heard in the Koori court, but Mr. Osman told The Australian domestic issues would be appropriate for a Koranic court, where a jury of elders from the same background as the defendant would rule on the case. "Domestic violence and problems between two families, between husband and wife, and if the crime comes from children, if youth are fighting each other -- these kind of things we could solve in our cultural way," he said.
It is undesirable to accept the existence of multiple legal codes in a nation, but in the case of Koori law there is an acknowledgement of the fact that Aboriginals were here first, had their own set of laws, and in remote areas are still strongly influenced by elders of their community. The same is not the case with the Islamic community.
Islam has existed here for since the 1860s/70s and its adherents have always been subject to the law of the land and have in no way suffered for it, and have always accepted it in the past. There is no logical reason for those coming into this country to have a special law just to suit them. It would be irrational for an Australian traveling abroad to insist that he be only subject to Australian law.
Probably one of the most worrisome aspects to this demand is the possibility that the multiculturalites will consider this a great idea leading the way to cultural diversity. Even more worrying, is that despite Attorney-General Robert McClelland ruling out any changes which would introduce aspects of sharia law, Gillard and her crowd may see some votes in it and place ‘political pragmatism’ above common sense and equal justice before the law.