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New Iraqi constitution ends equal rights for women

*** The new Iraqi constitution will restrict women's rights. It is being written by a committee which approves of the male-dominated Shia Muslim culture in Iraq. The majority of Iraqis are Shia, so this is true democracy in action. The US regime wanted democracy in Iraq, and that is what they got, but as in any Western-style democracy, regardless of who wins the decisions are ultimately made by a small group of male leaders drawn from the upper ranks of society. The old Iraq, unlike most neighbouring countries, imposed specific laws granting equal rights to women. The old Iraqi government was secular (not religious), and tolerant of all religions,  but ruthless against extremists. ***

New Iraqi constitution must follow Islam on women's rights, say Shia

The new Iraqi constitution should be based on Islamic tenets with restrictions on women's rights on issues such as marriage, divorce and inheritance laws, members of a committee drafting the document declared.

Shia members are trying to make the new constitution less secular, insisting that is the wish of the majority of the electorate who voted for Shia-dominated and religion-based parties.

Mariam al-Rayyes, a female Shia member of the committee, said Islam would be a "main source" for legislation in the new constitution and the state religion. "It gives women all rights and freedoms as long as they don't contradict our values. Concerning marriage, inheritance and divorce, this is civil status laws; that should not contradict our religious values." Her comments are seen as the first salvo in the battle over the draft constitution.

Ms Rayyes said that committee members had decided that over the next two four-year parliamentary terms, at least 25 per cent of MPs should be women. After the two terms, there would be no minimum percentage.
Attempts to roll back women's rights during the American occupation were shelved under pressure from women's groups and others. But advocates of a greater role for Islamic law are pushing for a text which could disadvantage women.

Iraq has been operating under a secular 1959 civil status law. This law will still be in effect after the new constitution is drafted.

"We reject the changes prepared on the 1959 law because some Islamic parties want to kidnap the rights of women in Iraq," said Yanar Mohammed, a women's rights activist and head of Women's Freedom in Iraq Movement. "We reject such attempts because women should be full citizens with full rights, not semi-human beings."


The Independent, "New Iraqi constitution must follow Islam on women's rights, say Shia ", 21 July 2005.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 21 July 2005.

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Tags: Iraq, constitution, Islamic, equal, rights, women, new, Iraqi, regime, democracy, Shia, majority, , conspiracy theories.

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