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 rights), "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."
Here we have one of the most studied new constitutions in the past decade, the Constitution of Iraq. This is one of those interesting documents that purports to strongly establish a single religion while simultaneously guaranteeing individual religious freedom.
In the name of God, the Most merciful, the Most compassionate
We, the people of Mesopotamia, the homeland of the apostles and prophets, resting place of the virtuous imams, cradle of civilization, crafters of writing, and home of numeration. Upon our land the first law made by man was passed, and the oldest pact of just governance was inscribed, and upon our soil the saints and companions of the Prophet prayed, philosophers and scientists theorized, and writers and poets excelled;
Acknowledging God’s right over us
First: Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of
A. No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam
Article 10 The holy shrines and religious sites in Iraq are religious and civilizational entities. The State is committed to assuring and maintaining their sanctity, and to guaranteeing the free practice of rituals in them.
Article 12 (Second) A law shall regulate honors, official holidays, religious and national
occasions and the Hijri and Gregorian calendar.
Article 92(Second) The Federal Supreme Court shall be made up of a number of judges,
experts in Islamic jurisprudence, and legal scholars, whose number, the method of
their selection, and the work of the Court shall be determined by a law enacted by
a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of Representatives.
Article 2 (Second): This Constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the
Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights to freedom of religious belief
and practice of all individuals such as Christians, Yazidis, and Mandean Sabeans
Article 37 (Second): The State shall guarantee protection of the individual from intellectual,
political and religious coercion.
Iraqis are free in their commitment to their personal status according to their religions,
sects, beliefs, or choices, and this shall be regulated by law.
Each individual shall have the freedom of thought, conscience, and belief.
First: The followers of all religions and sects are free in the:
A- Practice of religious rites, including the Husseini rituals.
B- Management of religious endowments (waqf), their affairs, and their
religious institutions, and this shall be regulated by law.
Second: The State shall guarantee freedom of worship and the protection of places
Equal Protection of Religion
Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity,
nationality, origin, color, religion, sect, belief or opinion, or economic or social status.
Each member of the Council of Representatives shall take the following constitutional
oath before the Council prior to assuming his duties:
“I swear by God Almighty to carry out my legal duties and responsibilities with
devotion and integrity and preserve the independence and sovereignty of Iraq, and
safeguard the interests of its people, and ensure the safety of its land, sky, water,
wealth, and federal democratic system, and I shall endeavor to protect public and
private liberties, the independence of the judiciary, and pledge to implement
legislation faithfully and neutrally. God is my witness.”