Sunday, March 25, 2012

Religion Provisions of the Afghanistan Constitution

One of my current research projects involves analysis of the religion provisions of various constitutions enacted since the year 2000. From time to time on this blog, I'll post extracts of those provisions arranged according to categories such as "Religious Freedom" (guarantee of individual right), "Established Religion" (joining religion and government), "Establishment Clause" (separating religion and government), "Ceremonial Deism" (symbolic references to religion that have little or no legal effect), "Equal Protection of Religion" (non-discrimination guarantees), "Preamble", "Religious Education", and "Religious Limitations".

To begin with, here is the Constitution of Afghanistan enacted in 2004.
Afghanistan Constitution 2004
Source: Comparative Constitutions Project

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of
Worlds; and Praise and Peace be upon Mohammad,
His Last Messenger and his disciples and followers
We the people of Afghanistan:
Believing firmly in Almighty God, relying on His divine
will and adhering to the Holy religion of Islam;

Established Religion
Article 1. Afghanistan shall be an Islamic Republic,

Article 2. The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic
Republic of Afghanistan. Followers of other faiths shall be free
within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their
religious rituals.

Article 3. No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the
holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.

Article 62. The individual who becomes a presidential candidate
shall have the following qualifications:
1. Shall be a citizen of Afghanistan, Muslim, born of Afghan
parents and shall not be a citizen of another country;

Article 131. The courts shall apply the Shia jurisprudence in cases
involving personal matters of followers of the Shia sect in
accordance with the provisions of the law. In other cases, if no
clarification in this Constitution and other laws exist, the courts
shall rule according to laws of this sect.

Article 149. The principles of adherence to the tenets of the Holy
religion of Islam as well as Islamic Republicanism shall not be

Religion Education
Article 17. The state shall adopt necessary measures to foster
education at all levels, develop religious teachings, regulate and
improve the conditions of mosques, religious schools as well as
religious centers.

Article 45. The state shall devise and implement a unified
educational curricula based on the tenets of the sacred religion of
Islam, national culture as well as academic principles, and develop
religious subjects curricula for schools on the basis of existing
Islamic sects in Afghanistan.

Article 54. Family is the fundamental pillar of the society, and shall
be protected by the state. The state shall adopt necessary
measures to attain the physical and spiritual health of the family,
especially of the child and mother, upbringing of children, as well
as the elimination of related traditions contrary to the principles of
the sacred religion of Islam.

Ceremonial Deisms
Article 18. The source for the calendar year of the country shall be
based upon the migration of The Prophet (PBUH).

Article 19. The flag of Afghanistan shall be . . . inscribed in the top middle the holy phrase “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his Prophet, and Allah is Great.”

Article 20. The national anthem of Afghanistan shall be in Pashto
with the mention of “God is Great”

Article 23. Life is the gift of God

Article 63. Before assuming office, the President shall take, in
accordance with special procedures set by law, the following oath of
“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, I swear by the
name of God Almighty that I shall obey and protect the Holy
religion of Islam, respect and supervise the implementation of the
Constitution as well as other laws, safeguard the independence,
national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and, in
seeking God Almighty’s help and support of the nation, shall exert
my efforts towards the prosperity and progress of the people of

Article 74. Before assuming office, the Ministers shall take the
following oath in the presence of the President:
“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, I swear in the
name of God Almighty that I shall protect the Holy religion of Islam,
respect the Constitution and other laws of Afghanistan, safeguard
the rights of citizens as well as independence, territorial integrity
and the national unity of the people of Afghanistan, and, in all my
deeds consider the Almighty’s presence, performing the entrusted
duties honestly.”

Article 119. Members of the Supreme Court shall take the following
oath of office in the presence of the President: “In the of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, I swear in the name of God Almighty to attain justice and righteousness in accordance with tenets of the Holy religion of Islam, provisions of this Constitution as well as other laws of Afghanistan, and to execute the judicial duty with utmost
honesty, righteousness and impartiality.”

Religious Limitations
Article 35. The people of Afghanistan shall have the right, in accordance with provisions of the law, to form political parties, provided that: 1. Their manifesto and charter shall not contravene the Holy religion of Islam and principles and values enshrined in this

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