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The Iraqi constitution adopted in 1990 under Saddam Hussein was among the most secular in the Arab world

ASSOCIATED PRESS


August 16, 2005


The Iraqi constitution adopted in 1990 under Saddam Hussein was among the most secular in the Arab world. It made no mention of Sharia -- Islamic religious law -- although Islam was named the official state religion. It prohibited all forms of discrimination, gender or other, and guaranteed freedom of expression as part of "the revolutionary, national and progressive trend."

Here's how drafts of the new charter compare with some other Arab constitutions on the role of Islamic law. English translations come either from official government Web sites or from the International Constitutional Law Project in Bern, Switzerland.

Iraq: Although an earlier draft of the constitution described Islam as "the main basis" of legislation, members of the drafting committee have told The Associated Press that the phrases "a main source" and "one of the sources" are also being considered.

Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia: These do not mention Sharia in their constitutions. The constitution of Lebanon, a mixed Muslim and Christian country, is the only Arab state not to name Islam as the national religion, and does not mention any religion.

Egypt: The constitution, once largely secular, was amended in 1971 to specify that "the principal source of legislation is Islamic jurisprudence (Sharia)."

Oman: The Persian Gulf state's constitution says "the Islamic Sharia is the basis of legislation."

Yemen: "Islamic jurisprudence is the main source of legislation."

Kuwait, a monarchy, and Syria, a republic: Both constitutions say Islamic Sharia is "a main source of legislation."

Saudi Arabia: The government "derives power from the Holy Quran and the Prophet's tradition," and Saudi society "will be based on the principle of adherence to God's command."QUICK HIT Religion's place in Arab constitutions


:: Article nr. 14721 sent on 17-aug-2005 01:19 ECT

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