Thursday, October 31, 2013

Religion Provisions of the Syrian Draft Constitution (2012)

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."
Given the on-going civil war, this 2012 draft constitution is of limited practical value.  The document contains a clear establishment of Islam, a weak religious freedom guarantee, a surprising equal protection of religion provision, and a provision I have never seen before guaranteeing that the families of martyrs will be compensated.
Established Religion

Article 3
(1). The President has to be part of the Muslim faith.
(2). Islamic jurisprudence doctrine is a primary source of legislation.

Religious Freedom

Article 3

(3). The state respects all religious beliefs and guarantees freedom to perform all rituals provided they do not jeopardise general order.
(4). Personal welfare and status of religious sects is protected and respected.

Article 42
1.     Freedom of belief is protected in accordance with law.

Ceremonial Deisms

Article 7
The constitutional oath is as follows:
"I swear by God the Almighty to respect the state's constitution, its laws and republican system, watch over the interests of the people and their freedoms, preserve the security, sovereignty and independence of the homeland, and work and struggle for the realisation of social justice and the unity of the Arab nation'." 

Article 145
Before assuming their duty, the President and members of the Supreme Constitutional Court take the following oath before the President of the Republic and in the presence of the speaker of the People's Assembly:
"I swear by the Almighty to respect the country's Constitution and laws and to carry out my duty with impartiality and loyalty."

Equal Protection of Religion

Article 33 (3)  Citizens are equal in rights and duties, without discrimination on grounds of sex, race, language, religion or creed.


Article 21
Martyrdom for the sake of the nation is a supreme value and the State shall provide for the families of martyrs in accordance with the Law.

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