A new report by the American Center for Democracy reveals that Taha Ghayyur, the new Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America – Canada (ISNA Canada) and one of the recommended speakers in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) “Islamic Heritage Month Resource Book for Educators”, believes that Islamic Sharia law can be gradually implemented in North America.
In an article originally published on the Young Muslims website called “Understanding Punishment in Sharia”, Ghayyur explained the rationale behind the harsh punishments in Islam, such as execution, stoning and cutting off the hands of thieves, and argued that Sharia law can be implemented in North America.
In the article , Ghayyur wrote that according to Muslim jurists, the purpose of the punishment is “educative, preventive and mainly deterrent, which is designed to keep the sense of justice alive in the community by a public repudiation of the acts violating the limits set by God.”
“The Hud [fixed] punishment prescribed by the Quran for a theft is to cut off the thief’s hand [under certain and strict conditions]…”
“Moreover, one wonders if Sharia can be practically implemented in our contemporary North American context…”
“It is certainly possible to apply Sharia in the North American society only if three conditions are fulfilled”.
In another article entitled “The Sharia I Live”, Ghayyur defended his way of life which is entirely based on the Sharia:
“The Sharia I live is much bigger than a code of laws, as is usually defined by academia and scholars of Islamic law and jurisprudence… I wish rather than demonizing Sharia as a bunch of barbaric laws through a black and white lens of those who harbor hate for anyone who practices a “different” faith or looks “foreign”, people saw it as a source of inspiration and culture for millions of fellow Muslim citizens”, he wrote.
Last October, TDSB had to temporarily recall and revise the guidebook following a complaint from B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish advocacy group, over its definition of “Islamophobia”, which TDSB defined as “fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture”. In a press release, B’nai Brith questioned the TDSB definition which, if enforced, could lead to punishment for students or teachers who object to persecution of LGTBQ people in the Islamic Republic of Iran, restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, all of which are examples of “Islamic politics”.
In 2011, TDSB came under fire when it provided religious accommodation to Muslim students at a public school in Toronto to hold Islamic prayer sessions on Fridays, which it defended by claiming that it had to meet its obligations to facilitate students’ religious beliefs.