Skip to comments.In Major Departure From U.S. Legal Model, Iraq's Draft Constitution Gives Islam Key Role
Posted on 07/26/2005 12:24:14 PM PDT by TheOtherOne
In Major Departure From U.S. Legal Model, Iraq's Draft Constitution Gives Islam Key Role
Published: Jul 26, 2005 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Framers of Iraq's constitution will designate Islam as the main source of legislation - a departure from the model set down by U.S. authorities during the occupation - according to a draft published Tuesday.
The draft states no law will be approved that contradicts "the rules of Islam" - a requirement that could affect women's rights and set Iraq on a course far different from the one envisioned when U.S.-led forces invaded in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.
"Islam is the official religion of the state and is the main source of legislation," reads the draft published in the government newspaper Al-Sabah. "No law that contradicts with its rules can be promulgated."
The document also grants the Shiite religious leadership in Najaf a "guiding role" in recognition of its "high national and religious symbolism."
Al-Sabah noted, however, that there were unspecified differences among the committee on the Najaf portion. Those would presumably include Kurds, Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites on the 71-member committee.
During the U.S.-run occupation, which ended June 28, 2004, key Shiite and some Sunni politicians sought to have Islam designated the main source of legislation in the interim constitution, which took effect in March 2004.
However, the U.S. governor of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, blocked the move, agreeing only that Islam would be considered "a source" - but not the only one. At the time, prominent Shiite politicians agreed to forego a public battle with Bremer and pursue the issue during the drafting of the permanent constitution.
Some women's groups fear strict interpretation of Islamic principles could erode their rights in such areas as divorce and inheritance. It could also move Iraq toward a more religiously based society than was envisioned by U.S. planners who hoped it would be a beacon of Western-style democracy in a region of one-party rule and theocratic regimes.
Members of the constitutional committee said the draft was among several and none would be final until parliament approves the charter by Aug. 15.
The drafting committee met Tuesday to discuss federalism, one of the most contentious issues, according to Sunni Arab member Mohammed Abed-Rabbou. He described the discussion as "heated" and said no agreement was reached.
Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani, a Sunni Arab, urged Iraqi media to refrain from publishing supposed texts unless they are released by the constitutional committee.
Sunni Arabs involved in writing the charter have complained that Shiites and Kurds are trying to steamroll their version of the draft without proper consultation and discussion.
The Sunnis agreed only Monday to resume work on the committee after they walked out to protest the assassination of two colleagues this month.
Sunni Arab support is crucial because the charter can be scuttled if voters in three of Iraq's 18 provinces reject it by a two-thirds majority - and Sunni Arabs are a majority in four provinces. Sunni Arabs make up about 20 percent of Iraq's 27 million people but dominate areas where the insurgency is raging.
U.S. officials are eager for the Iraqis to meet the Aug. 15 deadline as a major step in building a stable constitutional government, considered key to pacifying the Sunni insurgency and enabling the U.S. and its partners to begin drawing down troop strength.
If the deadline is met, voters will decide whether to approve the charter in mid-October and if they do, another general election will take place in December.
In an Internet statement Tuesday, al-Qaida's wing in Iraq warned Iraqis not to take part in the constitutional referendum, saying democracy goes against God's law and anyone who participates would be considered an "infidel," and earmarked for death.
According to Al-Sabah, the draft constitution would declare Iraq a sovereign state with "a republican democratic federal system." However, the word "federal" appears in brackets, indicating opposition among the committee.
Sunni Arabs are suspicious that federalism, a prime goal of the Kurds, would lead to the disintegration of Iraq.
In other developments:
-Gunmen fired on two buses carrying workers home from a government-owned company on the western edge of Baghdad, killing 16 and wounding 27, police and a company official said.
-Two gunmen in a speeding car assassinated a top aide to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police said in Baqouba, a city northeast of Baghdad.
2. I have fear that after all our hard work and sacrifices by the Americans, the Iraqis will adopt a system that is not worthy of those sacrifices.
3. I am not sure how to make people want full freedom. But at some point it is not worth helping those who will not help themselves.
Well, let's see. When we founded this great democracy of ours, women were not allowed to vote, slavery was legal, and states were free to establish state-wide religions and make other explict religious endorsements.
Yeah, I'm a bit worried about what this tie to Islam could do, but given how we turned out I'm also willing to keep an open mind for now.
"The draft states no law will be approved that contradicts "the rules of Islam"
Stop da press...such a surprise..
I heard this morning on CBN, that the Christians are being frozen out of the Iraqi constitution! They fear for their lives and their freedom to practice Christianity! OH BOY!
Oh just goody, just makes you want to puke.
Agreed. We can give them the chance and the framework, but if they choose to do the wrong thing with it, there's only so much we can do...unless and until they become a threat to us again.
At this point I think I'd rather have seen the country split into three among the three major groups in their respective geographic areas--Kurd, Sunni, Shiite. Iraq is largely an artificial construction of the 1920s anyway.
Douglas MacArthur would never have permitted this. Bush really screwed up putting a pussy like Paul Bremer in there years ago.
The US Consitution was written with the accepted morals of the time.
Iraq is choosing morals that are considered backwards today and has no intention of modernizing. They might as well adopt pure Islamic Law.
Oh well, it was a good try, and worth the effort anyway. Perhaps they'll drift away from Islam eventually if at least a tradition of free elections can be established.
Business as usual in the transnational kingdom of the "Religion of Peace."
Look, without democracy they are about 700 years behind. With it, they're about 300 years behind.
Exactly. The goal here is democracy. As long as that is enshrined in their constitution then there is genuine progress.
Then let's get the hell out and leave them to their own devices. Not another American life for Islam!
Good grief! Not a good sign.
If the anit-war crowd adopted that line they could actually get some traction. Heck, I agree with it.
The only bright side is widespread apprehension and fear in the Sunni Gulf Oil Shaikhs, and a feeling there that the US is shifting to a proShia strategy, spooking the Shaikhs, many of whom have sizable Shia minorities - Saudi, for instance, where the oil is located in the Shia provinces and those people have not shared in the wealth the Wahhabs have accumulated.
This outcome may not have been anticipated (that's a whole another thing), but it may be making the best of a situation.
Otherwise, Iran has certainly made out like a bandit with Saddam gone and a friendly regime there.
We have worked very hard to bring freedom to the Iraqi men.
Hey, the other press release on this generated the same panic, why not this one too? WILL you guys learn that the media is dedicated to making all of us lose heart?
"Members of the constitutional committee said the draft was among several and none would be final until parliament approves the charter by Aug. 15."
Oh, a DRAFT, which means *nothing* just like when Pelosi introduces an anti-gun bill it means nothing because it isn't ever going to see a vote, much less become law.
Wait, that'd mean that once again the MSM is BSing everyone, and that they are once again presenting theory as fact and fact as theory to make us look bad?
Or you could resume panicking, your choice.
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