Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Publius Pundit - Blogging the democratic revolution:

From the Publius Pundit blog:

I’m going to make this short and sweet. Bill Roggio posts the latest excerpt from the Iraq constitution and believes that the threat of Islam being a main source of legislation, thus creating an Islamic state like Iran, is overstated by the media. Here is the excerpt:

The political system is republican, parliamentary, democratic and federal.

1. Islam is a main source for legislation.

* a. No law may contradict Islamic standards.

* b. No law may contradict democratic standards.

* c. No law may contradict the essential rights and freedoms mentioned in this constitution.

Bill Roggio is absolutely correct in saying that this is being hyped. But why is that happening? I don’t know. Maybe because Iraq is the “wrong war” and Afghanistan isn’t. Oh! Speaking of Afghanistan! Why didn’t the media bitch endlessly about Afghanistan’s constitution when it was drafted (and, by the way, almost failed excepting last minute negotiations)? Here is what the constitution of Afghanistan says, which goes even further beyond Iraq’s:

Article 1 [Islamic Republic]
Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state.

Article 2 [Religions]
(1) The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of IslamState_Religion.
(2) Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law.

Article 3 [Law and Religion]
In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.

Article 7 [International Law]
(1) The state shall abide by the UN charter, international treaties, international conventions that Afghanistan has signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(2) The state prevents all types of terrorist activities, production and consumption of intoxicants (muskirat), production and smuggling of narcotics.

As far as I know, the term “Islamic Republic” doesn’t an Iran make. Neither the Taliban or anyone else are exerting state-sponsored religious oppresson, the rights of women are better than ever and steadily improving, and all groups are involving themselves in the democratic progress.

Yet I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear about this back in January 2004 when the Afghanis were drafting their constitution.

UPDATE: One of the more interesting phrases I’m hearing on all the talk shows is how the two principles of not being able to legislate against Islamic standards and not being able to legislate against democratic standards are inherently contradictory. That’s an interesting word for it, and a view that is definitely false.

Think of the restrictions on lawmaking as overlapping rather than contradictory, like a boolean graph. Only those laws that comply with both can be made, so don’t expect women to be strung up and hung execution style. Because also note that the constitution, most importantly, says that no law may contradict the rights and freedoms guaranteed in it. All of that stuff — and there’s a lot of it — is off limits to legislation. That doesn’t give Islamists much room to move."

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