Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Theocracy Via Democracy
When warned that a democratically elected Iraqi government might implement religious rule, Mr. Bush probably thought this meant Iraqis would seek Jerry Falwell's help in writing Iraq's new constitution.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The main parties of a cleric-led political ticket set to sweep elections in Iraq are planning to vet their prime minister candidates with the nation's top Shiite Muslim cleric.
And the cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, will oversee the drafting of the constitution if he is unhappy with the direction it is taking, a lead al-Sistani spokesman, Murtadha al Kashmiri, said Sunday.
Many in Iraq are growing worried that the sectarian rift between Shiites and the minority Sunni Muslim population may widen to the point that it causes massive unrest. And the increasing calls for Islamic-based rule in Iraq stand to disrupt, if not derail, U.S. plans for secular democratic rule.
(Source: Knight-Ridder News article titled: Al-Sistani to have detailed involvement in Iraq's political process) (Emphasis added.)
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Informed Comment's Juan Cole notes that according to a Sistani representative:
...no Sistani representative was at the press conference at which the spokesman for Grand Ayatollah al-Fayyad denounced any attempt to separate religion and state in Iraq. The statement attributed to Sistani was therefore not his. On the other hand, the source denied that there was any difference of opinion among the grand ayatollahs on this matter, and said that all were agreed that Islam should be the principle source of legislation, and that no laws should be passed that contravened Islam. Sistani's representative did reaffirm, however, the grand ayatollah's commitment to equality of rights under the law and to pluralism and minority rights. It is just, he said, that since most Iraqis are Muslims, it is inevitable that their law and institutions, which derive from the will of the people, will reflect Islamic culture.It sounds like the Grand Ayatollah has more tolerance for others than does Jerry Falwell. Not surprising, as Christian religious fanatics have historically been more intolerant than Muslims. (When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, they massacred so many of its men, women and children that the streets ran ankle deep in blood and desecrated the Muslim holy sites. When Saladin later re-captured the city, women and children were mostly spared and the Christian holy sites were turned over to the Eastern branch of Christianity for administration.)
Full post HERE.