Iraq: sharia law for Kurdish constitution?

From the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), Dec. 15:

To: Kurdistan Regional Government

International Campaign to remove Article No 7 from the Kurdistan regional constitution!

Article 7 of the proposed constitution for Kurdistan is an open threat to the rights and freedoms of the people.

An appointed committee to prepare a draft constitution for Kurdistan Region has suggested the following formulation in article No 7: “This Constitution stresses the identification of the majority of Kurdish people as Muslims, thus the fundamental tenets of Islamic Sharia law will be considered as one of the major sources for legislation-making.”

This campaign declares that such an article prepares the ground for forced Islamisation of law in Kurdistan in the future. This poses a grave threat. We consider it a major attack on the basic rights and liberties of the people of this region. In particular, it will have worrying consequences for the rights of women and for the space for secular and progressive opinion in Kurdistan to find a voice. We want to make the world aware of this threat and mobilise to counter it.

There is no question that making Islamic Sharia Law a base for law making in Kurdistan will inevitably produce attacks on freedom of thought and expression and restrictions on civil rights. Gender apartheid will be practiced. We have seen the consequences of Sharia law in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. We need only to look to the south of Iraq where the Islamic Shitte parties are in power and are forcing through Islamisation with an inevitable rise of bloody sectarianism, attacks on modernity and civilisation itself as consequences.

This is unacceptable to the all progressive and secular opinion the world over. Therefore article No 7 should not be allowed in the proposed constitution as a permanent article. Instead, we must demand for the separation of religion from the state and education system.

Religion is a private matter for the individual. It is a basic requirement of freedom of thought and expression that every individual must be able to practice any religion of their choice. By the same token, people must be free to have no religion. No one should be tortured, discriminated against or abused because of having or not having a particular religion.

This international campaign calls upon all people worldwide and in Kurdistan – freedom loving women, men, secularists and progressives – to stand up to a proposal which inserts Islamic Sharia into the constitution of Kurdistan. We call them to support and join this campaign.

We call upon all democratic, social, cultural organisations and women’s organisations to prioritise this campaign, and sign this petition to register their support:

The initiators of this campaign:

Houzan Mahmoud, representative abroad of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (campaign coordinator)
Marywan Halabjaee, writer and researcher
Sozan Shahab, member of Kurdistan Parliament.
Nadir Abdul Hameed, political personality living in Denmark
Goran Abdulla, coordinator of website
Sakar Ahmad, activist and writer of a book titled Victims of Honour Crimes

You can sign the petition at PetitionOnline

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