This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Canadian Social Contract

"Cultural differences do not excuse or mitigate criminal conduct To hold otherwise undermines the equality of all individuals before and under the law, a crucial Charter value. It would also create a second class of person in our society -- those who fall victim to offenders who import such practices. This is of particular significance in the context of domestic violence."
"All women in Canada are entitled to the same level of protection from abusers. The need to strongly denounce domestic violence is in no way diminished when that conduct is the product of cultural beliefs that render women acceptable targets of male violence."
"If anything, cultural beliefs may be an aggravating factor enhancing the need for specific deterrence in cases where the sentencing judge is satisfied that the offender continues to maintain those views at the time of sentencing."
Ontario Court of Appeal
Ontario's court of appeal has ruled cultural differences are not a reason to give lighter sentences.
Peter J. Thompson/National Post.  Ontario's court of appeal has ruled cultural differences are not a reason to give lighter sentences.

"In Iran if she complained about any abuse she would be ignored -- it is a different culture, it is a different society."
Judge William Gorewich, court of justice, Newmarket, Ontario

"The younger boy became so terrified that he took to sleeping with a knife." 
court documents

Justice Gorewich evidently saw his way clear to rendering a light sentence to an Iranian immigrant who had regularly raped his wife over 16 years of marriage, and beaten his children. It was his understanding that since the family came from a culture in which this kind of familial behaviour was the norm, it could be understood that the paterfamilias would simply continue maltreating his family and raping his wife because it was his prerogative. He had sentenced the unnamed man to 18 months in prison.

Noting as he did the wife's surprise on learning the legal consequences of her husband's behaviour. Her victim impact statement at trial suggested, according to Justice Gorewich, a "significant cultural gap" between what is acceptable practise in Iran and what cannot be condoned in Canada, as an infringement of an individual's human rights, set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The man had repeatedly and regularly forced his wife to submit to unwanted sex. He hit her, pulled her hair, pinched her and removed her clothing against her will. The couple's two children were slapped by their father, kicked by him, punched and strapped by the man. This abuse continued even after he left the family home and lived with another woman. On one occasion he had locked the teens out of the house on a snowy winter day when the children were barefoot, clad only in shorts and tee-shirts.

Conduct, in short, unbecoming a civilized human being. And while the original trial judge felt that the cultural norms of the country from which this family came codified that type of behaviour, and as such it made his violent cruelty explicable earning him a lighter sentence, that conclusion was not shared by the Appeal Court. Which did point out that in his defence the husband denied the attacks, blaming his family for the situation in which he now finds himself.

A situation where the Appeal Court decided Wednesday that the man, by now released from custody, will have to return to jail to serve out a four-year prison term as legal punishment for his unspeakably harsh and violent behaviour toward his dependents.

It is also worth noting that under Sharia law Muslim women are enjoined to submit to their husbands and if they do not the husband has the 'right' to impose himself regardless. In 2009 Afghanistan passed legislation that made it lawful for Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual. Iran is a Shiite Islamist country.
According to Islamic law, a husband may strike his wife for any one of the following four reasons:
- She does not attempt to make herself beautiful for him (ie. "let's herself go")
- She refuses to meet his sexual demands
- She leaves the house without his permission or for a "legitimate reason"
- She neglects her religious duties
Any of these are also sufficient grounds for divorce.
Muhammad said: "If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have sexual
relation] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will
curse her till morning" (Bukhari 4.54.460).
He also said: "By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out
the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he
asks her to surrender herself [to him for sexual intercourse] she should not
refuse him even if she is on a camel's saddle" (Ibn Majah 1854).
- See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2010/07/sharia-islamic-law-in-new-jersey-court-muslim-husband-rapes-beats-sexually-abuses-wife-judge-sees-no.html/#sthash.siFWGk3Q.dpuf

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