Archbishop: Iraqi constitution 'real threat' to religious freedom - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
September 5, 2005

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Archbishop: Iraqi constitution 'real threat' to religious freedom

-05/09/05

The Archbishop of Westminster has urged the UK's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to intervene in the drafting of the Iraqi constitution to remove a clause which he says could deprive minorities of their basic rights as citizens.

Cardinal Murphy-OíConnor wrote to the Foreign Secretary on Friday after church leaders in Iraq sounded the alarm over Article 2(a) in the draft constitution, which was submitted on 25 August.

The Article states that ìno law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islamî, in the Associated Press (AP) translation.

Although Church leaders ìdo not question that Iraq will be an Islamic state, nor object to Islam being considered one source of legislation among others, they are most alarmed by the phraseî in Article 2(a), Cardinal Murphy-OíConnor wrote to Jack Straw.

The Cardinal warned that if the clause remained it could have ìdevastating consequencesî for Iraqís ancient Christian minority, and ìfatally undermineî Britainís plans for a stable democracy in the region.

The Constitution, he warned, contains ìa real threat to religious freedom.î

The draft will be voted on in a general referendum and ratified by the general assembly on 15 October, but discussions are under way to fine-tune the draft, according to the Associated Press on Friday.

The Cardinal has asked Jack Straw ìto influence the parties to the Constitution to enshrine specific guarantees which establish the equality of non-Muslims and to remove the above-mentioned clauseî.

Warning of ìan exodus of Christians from Iraqî, the Cardinal told Jack Straw that ìthe British objective in establishing a stable democracy in that country would be fatally underminedî if their rights were not protected.

Find books now:

Archbishop: Iraqi constitution 'real threat' to religious freedom

-05/09/05

The Archbishop of Westminster has urged the UK's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to intervene in the drafting of the Iraqi constitution to remove a clause which he says could deprive minorities of their basic rights as citizens.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor wrote to the Foreign Secretary on Friday after church leaders in Iraq sounded the alarm over Article 2(a) in the draft constitution, which was submitted on 25 August.

The Article states that 'no law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam', in the Associated Press (AP) translation.

Although Church leaders 'do not question that Iraq will be an Islamic state, nor object to Islam being considered one source of legislation among others, they are most alarmed by the phrase' in Article 2(a), Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor wrote to Jack Straw.

The Cardinal warned that if the clause remained it could have 'devastating consequences' for Iraq's ancient Christian minority, and 'fatally undermine' Britain's plans for a stable democracy in the region.

The Constitution, he warned, contains 'a real threat to religious freedom.'

The draft will be voted on in a general referendum and ratified by the general assembly on 15 October, but discussions are under way to fine-tune the draft, according to the Associated Press on Friday.

The Cardinal has asked Jack Straw 'to influence the parties to the Constitution to enshrine specific guarantees which establish the equality of non-Muslims and to remove the above-mentioned clause'.

Warning of 'an exodus of Christians from Iraq', the Cardinal told Jack Straw that 'the British objective in establishing a stable democracy in that country would be fatally undermined' if their rights were not protected.

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