Iraq Church leaders fear imposition of Islamic Laws. Barnabas Fund


UK. A letter signed by the leaders of nine Christian denominations in Iraq Pleads that the new constitution should ensure the equality of all faith

in Iraq. The leaders' concerns arise from reports that the Shi'a majority is pressing for Islamic law (shari'a) to be enshrined in the constitution. The letter, which was presented on 14th July, states: "If there is a move towards the confirmation of the role of the Islamic religion in Iraqi society, then it is only natural to confirm the role of other religions that have been historically established in Iraq. We are only asking for ... equality, freedom and equal opportunities and the prevention of racial, religious and denominational discrimination." A sub-committee of the Iraqi Assembly is currently preparing a draft constitution, which must be ready by 15th August. After this the draft will be considered and possibly revised by the Assembly. The church leaders are fearful that if shari'a is given a position in the constitution, Christians and other non-Muslims will face the same kind of discrimination and second-class status, which they experience in other countries where the law is based on shari'a. Iraq would become an Islamic state. Bishop Andreas Abouna, who presented the letter, said that a pro-shari'a constitution would result in such a massive exodus of Christians from Iraq that the Christian presence could all but disappear. There have been Christians in Iraq since the first century AD.

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