The main concern raised by Ontario citizens regarding the IICJ
was that the application of Sharia law in the binding context of an arbitration might lead to the creation of a parallel legal system in Ontario, one which would not recognize the same equality values as the Ontario system, and so could result in disadvantages for vulnerable members of Ontario society, namely Muslim women and children.
(2.) Syed Mumtaz Ali, a retired lawyer and the key supporter of the Ontario Shari'ah tribunals, was reported to have said that a new organization had been established under the name of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (IICJ
) and that its approximately fifty members included at least ten women.
(120) The tribunal, or Darul Qada, established under the name of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (IICJ
), was set up for the stated purpose of meeting the religious needs of Muslims in Ontario by enabling Muslims to govern interpersonal matters according to the dictates of their faith.
The system enacted by the Arbitration Act of 1991 functioned without problem until the fall of 2003, when Syed Mumtaz Ali announced that the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (IICJ
) had been established "to ensure that Islamic principles of family and inheritance law could be used to resolve disputes within the Muslim community in Canada." (392) Mumtaz Ali's statements to the media about the IICJ
created public concern that Ontario had granted special rights to Sharia courts to settle disputes between Muslims.