Religious pluralism, inclusive secularism, and democratic constitutionalism: the Indonesian experience
Is religion a threat to constitutionalism? Does it steer the secular legal system toward compromises and concessions? Why are some secular states unable to accommodate religious pluralism? In recent years, spirited debates related to these questions have been energized by proposals to introduce a sharia tribunal or court in Canada and the UK. These proposals have been encouraged by the ability since the early 1990s of Jewish and Catholic groups in Ontario, Canada, to arbitration mechanisms rooted in their religious frameworks. The Jewish Court in Toronto, Beith Din, has been operating for many years. Instructively, the use of religious arbitration mechanisms by religious communities only generated public debate when Muslim leaders requested the same rights as Jews and Catholics. In 2005, Ontario officials were forced to decide whether to establish a sharia tribunal for Muslims or scrap religious family courts altogether. Eventually, the Premier, Dalton McGuinty decided that "there will be no ShariJa law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians."
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