August 22, 2005

Islamic Law and the Iraqi Constitution

Carroll Andrew Morse

Take a look at the phrasing, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, on two of these anti-democratic posters from Iraq.

Whoever did not rule by what Allah has revealed, [those] are the infidels

Our constitution is the Koran, and there is no substitute for it… Who will defend us from the wrath of Allah if we choose a heretical constitution instead of Allah's law?

The “reasoning” of the anti-democratic forces is clear. They are trying to convince the Iraqi people that they must choose between Islamic law or laws based on a written constitution. This is, I believe, why the framers of the Iraqi Constitution are insisting on some sort of statement in the constitution along the lines of…
Islam is a main source for legislation and it is not permitted to legislate anything that conflicts with the fixed principles of its rules.
The pro-democracy forces, at least in part, are trying to emphasize that Islamic law and a constitutional system can co-exist. How far they are reaching beyond that goal depends largely upon the meaning, if any, of “the fixed principles of its rules” within an Islamic context.