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Iraqi Constitution May Curb Women's Rights

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Is this story the beginning of what a lot of us are fearing will happen to democracy in Iraq? The point is that given to their own devices Iraq will turn into a fundamentalist Islamic nation. Is that what 1750+ Americans and $300 billion was "spent' on?

Iraqi Constitution May Curb Women's Rights

By EDWARD WONG
Published: July 20, 2005 - NY Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 19 - A working draft of Iraq's new constitution would cede a strong role to Islamic law and could sharply curb women's rights, particularly in personal matters like divorce and family inheritance.

A banner saying "Stop the violence against Iraqi women" was carried at a Baghdad rally over constitutional issues as they affect women's rights.

The document's writers are also debating whether to drop or phase out a measure enshrined in the interim constitution, co-written last year by the Americans, requiring that women make up at least a quarter of the parliament.

The draft of a chapter of the new constitution obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not "violate Shariah," or Koranic law.

The Americans and secular Iraqis banished such explicit references to religious law from the interim constitution adopted early last year.

The draft chapter, circulated discreetly in recent days, has ignited outrage among women's groups, which held a protest on Tuesday morning in downtown Baghdad at the square where a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by American marines in April 2003.

One of the critical passages is in Article 14 of the chapter, a sweeping measure that would require court cases dealing with matters like marriage, divorce and inheritance to be judged according to the law practiced by the family's sect or religion.

Under that measure, Shiite women in Iraq, no matter what their age, generally could not marry without their families' permission. Under some interpretations of Shariah, men could attain a divorce simply by stating their intention three times in their wives' presence.

Article 14 would replace a body of Iraqi law that has for decades been considered one of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the rights of women, giving them the freedom to choose a husband and requiring divorce cases to be decided by a judge.


If adopted, the shift away from the more secular and egalitarian provisions of the interim constitution would be a major victory for Shiite clerics and religious politicians, who chafed at the Americans' insistence that Islam be designated in the interim constitution as just "a source" of legislation. Several writers of the new constitution say they intend, at the very least, to designate Islam as "a main source" of legislation.

By rough count, nearly 200 women and men showed up in the fiery heat to hand out fliers and wave white banners in a throng of traffic. "We want to be equal to everybody - we want human rights for everybody," read one slogan. The demonstration came hours before two Sunni Arabs involved in writing the constitution were fatally shot near a Baghdad restaurant, threatening to throw the drafting process into turmoil.

"We want a guarantee of women's rights in the new constitution," said Hannah Edwar, an organizer of the protest. "We're going to meet with the constitutional committee and make our thoughts known."

A dozen women, some sheathed in full-length black robes, showed up to denounce Ms. Edwar's protest. They said they were followers of Moktada al-Sadr, the fundamentalist Shiite cleric who has led two rebellions against the Americans.

American and Iraqi officials say that several draft chapters of the constitution are floating around Baghdad and that no final language has been agreed on. Changes can still be made before Aug. 15, the deadline for the National Assembly to approve a draft. Protests by women and relatively secular blocs on the constitutional committee, like the Kurds, may force Shiite members to tone down the religious language.

"Some of the points regarding women's rights in this chapter are still to be reviewed," said Mariam Arayess, a religious Shiite on the committee.

Ms. Arayess said she believed that the draft was the most recent working version, and that it had fairly generous provisions for equal rights. She is one of fewer than 10 women on the 71-member drafting committee.

The chapter has 27 articles, most of which have relatively liberal provisions aimed at ensuring various civil rights. The first says that "all Iraqis are equal before the law" and that "equal opportunities are guaranteed for all citizens according to the law." The final article forbids censorship of the press.
The rest of the piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/20/international/middleeast/20women.html?pagewanted=2
 

ShamMol

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Unfortunately, it is not our place to put their own morals on them. They have a democracy/republic now and they shall faces the repurcussions of it. The best that the United States can do about it is write strongly worded protest letters, etc. One thing that also you should realize is that since it is a democracy, the outcry from women and protesting from them might overwhelm the people who are writing the constitution.

I hope that they come to their senses, but it is not our place to interfere with their own constitution-they wanted to do it themselves and we gave them that right, however unfortunate the outcome is.

Alright, now that the legality tirade is over...THIS SUCKS. I am a member of AI (Amnesty International) and I for one will get my chapter to write to the Congress and get the word out everywhere I go about this so that there can be more public outrage that could eventually transfer to the white house (/laura Bush) and then they can speak out and hopefully change their mind!
 

cnredd

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ShamMol said:
Alright, now that the legality tirade is over...THIS SUCKS. I am a member of AI (Amnesty International) and I for one will get my chapter to write to the Congress and get the word out everywhere I go about this so that there can be more public outrage that could eventually transfer to the white house (/laura Bush) and then they can speak out and hopefully change their mind!
In this instance, the elephant agrees with the donkey....

Keep in mind that Iraq is still taking baby steps...America took a few hundred years to get where its at...don't expect Iraq to get there in less than five.

If we, as Americans, think that 20% of the Iraq's constitution is wrong, we should understand that that is still 80% BETTER than what they had.
 

ShamMol

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cnredd said:
In this instance, the elephant agrees with the donkey....

Keep in mind that Iraq is still taking baby steps...America took a few hundred years to get where its at...don't expect Iraq to get there in less than five.

If we, as Americans, think that 20% of the Iraq's constitution is wrong, we should understand that that is still 80% BETTER than what they had.
Agreed. I have read a little about what is in there and from what I can tell, it makes the sects very balanced and that is so much better than what was there before.

But still, this is one issue that could either dissolve, hurt, or even weaken the Iraqi government in the long run and I think it is better to adress it now than down the road, right? But again, the legality side...we can only prod, not direct...
 

cnredd

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ShamMol said:
we can only prod, not direct...
Damn Bam Sham! Right on the money!

The big picture is to get the Constitution done and an agreement from all sides...If it doesn't agree 100% with the "American philosophy", so be it.
It would be a shame to sweat the small stuff when the big picture is all that matters.

That would be like a GM in baseball saying he doesn't want Barry Bonds on his team 'cause "he doesn't hit enough triples".
 

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I haven't been keeping up on the Iraqi constitution. Do they have any legal provisions on the "hot topics"?
For example: Do gays have the right to get married in Iraq? Do women have the legal ability to have an abortion?

Also, I'm curious about their tax filings. If a husband has a harem, can he claim each wife as a dependent? (ie; Achmed has 6 wifes with @3 dependent children each. Would he then claim "Head-of-Household, Married, 19"?)

Are the women in a harem considered each other's spouses?
If so, is that not gay marriage?
If not, then is a three-way with their husband Adultery?

Referring back to Achmed: Let's assume that gay marriage is legal in Iraq. Achmed decides to marry Mohammad and, thus, adds Mohammad to his harem. So now Achmed has 6 Wifes (who are, ofcours, nameless) and 1 Husband (Mohammad). One day while Achmed is on a "business trip" to "inspect" the London Subway, Mohammad decides to let his door swing both ways and gets a little hot & heavy with Wife #4. @ 9 months later little Kajar is born.

Question #1) Who are the legal guardians of Kajar? It would be the whole harem, wouldn't it?

After hearing the sad news that Achmed died in a tragic "train accident" in London, Mohammad takes the advice of his Mullah and takes a "vacation" to Washington D.C. When the tribal leaders learn that Mohammad passed away in a tragic "plain accident" over the White House, they have to split up the women and children amongst the tribe

Question #2) How is visitation sorted out? Would Kajar have to be handed off to a new Mom every week? He would only get to visit any one given Mom every month & a half.

After having to grow up around stress like that, maybe Kajar should just move to California and go to collage to become a "Nuclear Engineer" or a "Computer Specialist"........

I can't Waite for an Iraqi Civil Liberties Union to start advocating a women's right to have a harem. Won't the feminists love that!?!
 
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Simon W. Moon

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More often qualifications on rights occur in implementing legislation. European constitutions introduced phrasing that suggested that freedoms be defined by law. The original purpose of such provisions was to ensure that only parliament (as the agent of the entire society) would define the way in which a right would operate. This took the task out of the hands of the monarch and the executive and placed it in the hands of those deputized by the nation. But over time it has become clear that defining a right might also mean limiting it. This could occur anywhere but seems especially likely in countries in which the parliament falls under executive domination. In such cases, rights might almost be defined out of existence. Indeed, this is the pattern in much of the Arab world. The drafting committee in Iraq has indicated that it is writing a more parliamentary document, which might diminish but certainly cannot eliminate the possibility of rights being deprived out of their meaning by implementing legislation. Some countries have attempted to forestall such a possibility by including a constitutional provision that implementing legislation cannot limit the essence of a right. No such provision is included in this draft.
 

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With refrence to http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/BillofRights.pdf
I've got a couple problems and notable agreements with the Iraqi Constitution.

2) Chapter 2, section 16a; Establishes the Iraqi government as an Oligarchy.

3) Chapter 2, section 21; disallows any media to cover anything political, as any given political issue will harm on someones morals. Further more, this section banns propagandist individuals (Micheal Moore) an organizations (Planned Parenthood, P.E.T.A.) from ever using any media because they use immoral practices to achieve an immoral goal.

Waite a Minuit, thats a good thing........never mind.

4)Chapter 2, section 24; provides guaranteed payment to Terrorists who use suicide bombing.

5) Article 1 section 6; suggests that there may be a state level of government since there is a Federal level. Is this true?

6) Article 5 section 3; Science and Patriotism do not establish what a nuclear family is. This raises a red flag with me because science is ever changing and patriotism is subject to the Court's opinion.
Additionally, I don't like the idea for the state to "implant moral values".

7) Article 6 sections 7,9 & 11; = socialism.

8) Article 7; = socialism.

9) Article 13 section 1; Good bye gay pride parades!!

10) Article 15 section 3; "Moral torture"? That's relative....what the****is moral torture.....being held agents my will in rush-hour traffic and forced to listen to FiddyCent...thats moral torture.....would I get to sue?

11) Article 15 section 7; The victim called me a poopy-head, do I get to sue?

12) Article 17 section 5; IRONY. IRAQ'S G.D.P. IS OIL. WHERE DO THEY GET OFF MAKING LEGISLATION ABOUT "PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT FROM POLLUTION"!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
 

Simon W. Moon

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Busta said:
7) Article 6 sections 7,9 & 11; = socialism.
8) Article 7; = socialism.
ARTICLE 5: THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE SOCIETY

7. The state shall guarantee the realization of social and health insurance for the child from his birth until he completes his university studies.

9. The state shall guarantee the realization of the social guarantee necessary for citizens in case of old age, disease, inability to work, or if they are homeless, orphans, widowed, or unemployed. It shall provide them social insurance services and health care and protect them from the talons of ignorance, fear, and want, providing them with housing, and special programs to train them and care for them. A law shall be issued regarding this.

11. The state shall support the victims of the regime and terrorism and their families and protect their rights in accordance with law.

ARTICLE 7

Iraqi citizens have the right to enjoy security and free health care. The Iraqi federal government and regional governments must provide it and expand the fields of prevention, treatment, and medication by the construction of various hospitals and health institutions.

Socialism has a few generations of history in much of the ME. Loosely speaking, it was a counterweight to colonialism. In Iran f'rinstance, there were some notably unequal treaties with the Russians and English. When the Tsarists were kicked out of power in Russia the new govt renounced a number of the unfair treaties and concessions. This helped make the Soviets look like good guys. Subsequently, the Soviets ended up finding favor among various nationalist (anti-colonialist) movements that had broad support. These sorts of historical events helped to bring about the popularity of various versions of socialism expressed in Islamic idioms.
It's not at all surprising that these sorts of things'd be there.
 

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Busta said:
11) Article 15 section 7; The victim called me a poopy-head, do I get to sue?
ARTICLE 15
7. It is forbidden to injure an accused physically or morally.
Moral injury is more than having your feelings hurt. As an example, here's an interesting speech by By Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Tufts Department of Psychiatry:
Secretary of the Navy’s Guest Lecture
Naval Command Center Auditorium,
The Pentagon, Washington DC
February 23, 2000
When I speak of preventing psychological and moral injury in military service, the "moral injury" part has mainly to do with how power is used in high stakes situations. The effect on active service members is immediate and devastating: like Achilles and the stampeding soldiers, they desert. Today, the desertion is mainly psychological and motivational, and at the next possible separation point, the service member attrits. If the stakes have been life and death, and the betrayal bad enough, the service member then enters civilian life as a veteran whose capacity for social trust has been destroyed.
The piece is worth reading in its entirety.​
 

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ShamMol said:
Unfortunately, it is not our place to put their own morals on them. They have a democracy/republic now and they shall faces the repurcussions of it.
I sure would like to see the dictionary definiton of "democracy/republic." See that double mindedness causes such mental instability. . . . .

dou·ble·think n.

Thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and falsehoods, especially when used as a technique of self-indoctrination: “Doublethink... is a vast system of mental cheating” (George Orwell).

James 1: 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

See Iraq would have had to have the republic first for about 160+ years and then out of the blue the leaders start calling it a democracy for it to be a "democracy/republic" like the USA . . . Iraq hasn't been a republic since the USA funded it's over throw with Saddam's crowd back some 40+ years ago . . . .. . hahahahahahaa
 

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Shamgar said:
I sure would like to see the dictionary definiton of "democracy/republic." See that double mindedness causes such mental instability. . . . .

dou·ble·think n.

Thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and falsehoods, especially when used as a technique of self-indoctrination: “Doublethink... is a vast system of mental cheating” (George Orwell).

James 1: 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

See Iraq would have had to have the republic first for about 160+ years and then out of the blue the leaders start calling it a democracy for it to be a "democracy/republic" like the USA . . . Iraq hasn't been a republic since the USA funded it's over throw with Saddam's crowd back some 40+ years ago . . . .. . hahahahahahaa
I concur. Well said.
 

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No matter what, I doubt that Iraqis will create a set up that I'd find to my tastes.

I just hope that things will work out with the least amount of harm and the greatest amount of good.
 

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Simon W. Moon said:
No matter what, I doubt that Iraqis will create a set up that I'd find to my tastes.

I just hope that things will work out with the least amount of harm and the greatest amount of good.
Yeah, if we were going to change our consitution in the US to look like that I'd be very worried. Among other things, their constition says the exact opposite of what our second ammendment says, and I also noticed the free health care line. Its seems that they are borrowing more from Europe than they are borrowing from the US.

In any case, I think its possible to get a stable system of law in place where people can feel secure in their lives and property and where they can have a voice in their government. It may not be great, but it will be a system people can work with.
 

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I'm not completely convinced that what form of government the Iraqi's choose to implement is the most important issue.

If they choose to follow tradition and abide by tribal elders and courts, have a represented Republic like us or a Democracy, than so be it. If they want allot of religion in their law, I see no problem.

My primary concern is their stance toward Israel. That little piece of sand has always been the center of mager conflict in the middle east.
If Iraq turns agents Israel, it'll be Smack-Down time.
If the Muslim contries invade Isreal it'll be the Nukes, not S.U.V.s, that environmentalists will come to resent.
That's what I'm concerned about.
 
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Simon W. Moon

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Busta said:
If Iraq turns agents Israel, it'll be Smack-Down time.
That's what I'm concerned about.
Unsurprisingly, Iraq's being heavily influenced by Iran and Iranians.

On top of the various shared historical and cultural items among the Iraqi Arabs and the nearby Persians the current Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, comes from the Da'wa party.

The United States and Iraq's Shi'ite Clergy: Partners or Adversaries?
Da’wa has close ties to radical Lebanese Shi’ites, including the Lebanese Hizb’allah (party of God). Moreover, many individuals within Da’wa are believed to look to the Lebanese Hizb’allah spiritual guide, Mohammad Fadlallah, as a marja al taqlid [highest juridical authority] from which they draw inspiration and guidance. This linkage could be a problem for U.S. forces at some later point.
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topi...o=44924&version=1&template_id=37&parent_id=17 ‘Turning point’ in Iran-Iraq ties
Published: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 01:13 PM Doha Time
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will do everything it can to assure the reconstruction, security and stability of Iraq,” said Khatami.

“The strategy of Iran is to support a free Iraq, independent and developed.”

Among them is an agreement for Iran to share intelligence with Iraq in a bid to re-establish security in the war-torn country, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.

“One of the sub-commissions we formed is on security co-operation between two sides. Its aim is really to establish a mechanism for intelligence sharing, to prevent infiltrations and to assist us in stabilising the situation,” Zebari said.

And, it's no so much Iraq "turning against Israel" as it willbe a matter of Iraq continuing to have issues with Israel. Theseissues were not merely Hussein's doing. Removing him has not changed Iraqi views on Israel.

Though, to be honest, I'm not sure what more we will do as far a "smack-down" at this point.
 

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Oddly enough, I agree with ShamMol that it's not really our place.

Also, consider this:

Our government doesn't even require that 25% of the House and the Senate be female. Why not? If it's good enough for Iraq...

Beyond that though, there's another concern. They exist in a very "conservative" neck of the woods. Being a democracy, being allied with the U.S. for years to come, being militarily inept (and they are, especially now), ripe for civil war, and sitting smack dab in the middle of a whole bunch of folks who would love to blow the crap out of them...

How far do we really want to push this? Perhaps we make them into a little America, and everyone hates them and blows the crap out of them, and we lose lives propping up another failed government which by the way, will get us yet more attacks for meddling in their affairs.

Or we can let them decide their own affairs, in a democratic environment, and allow them to work through it like we did. Perhaps that bit of conservative holding out is what it takes to make a few less people hate them and want to blow them to crap.

Besides, if it remains true to democracy, it won't be long anyway. Hell, we didn't make it very long with our inequities either, and the world moves faster these days.

I'm not a fan of moving backwards, don't get me wrong. But perhaps that's the best course of action for right now especially given that it's the course of action they themselves wish to take.

We learned. So will they.
 

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Are you serious this is horrible. :( This is a bad, bad thing the US needs to step in if Woman's rights are not accepted!
 

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Are you serious this is horrible. This is a bad, bad thing the US needs to step in if Woman's rights are not accepted!
And your argument for this is...?

Democracy inherently means that we must respect their sovereignty, and that they must come to that conclusion on their own. Also, we don't get to build Iraq "perfect" right from the start. No nation ever does start perfect from scratch. We had slavery, and women weren't allowed to vote. Only wealthy white men were, so not even most whites could vote.

And everything's relative. It's a whole lot better than what they had. It's a whole lot better than what their neighbors have. Too much more and they'll call it "New America."

And that argument will resonate throughout the Arab world. What will the consequences of that be?

We can try to sway, we can cajole, we can bribe, we can launch ad campaigns... but we cannot impose our will. If we do, then we really haven't made a democracy there, have we?
 

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Yeah, exactly. I am a member of AI and while what may happen makes me sick, I also realize that it just isn't our place. We created the monster called democracy in the middle east and we can't just step in when we want and say, hold it, time out, you do things our way. That just would completely make the process there illegitimate.

What we can do is hold rallies, ask our government to write strongly worded letters asking for them to change their mind, etc. That is what we can do, not step in and change a civilization.
 
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