Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Don't believe the hype

A headline in yesterday's Arab News worried me a bit: "Sistani Wants Islam to Be Sole Source of Legislation "

The article didn't allay my fears:

Iraq’s Shiite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani and another top cleric yesterday demanded that Islam be the sole source of legislation in the country’s new constitution.

A source close to Sistani announced soon after the release of the statement that the leader backed the demand. “We warn officials against a separation of the state and religion, because this is completely rejected by the ulema and Marja and we will accept no compromise on this question,” said Ibrahimi.

Something about this one just didn't seem right. I know a (very) little bit about Sistani, and didn't expect to see him leading the charge to turn Iraq into another Iran.

I emailed an Iraqi-born friend of mine about the article, and in speaking with him later in the day I remembered that the Arab press is much like the American press - you can't trust them.

Here's the gist of his reply to my email:

Well, Iraq is a Muslim nation but not an Islamic nation; this does not mean that Iraq will be have an Iranian style government, Sistani believes in secular democratic Iraq, the foundations of most constitutions

In the free world came from the holly book of (Christians) because of the majority of the populations in the free world are Christians, in Iraq which is the first free nation in Islamic world, the law and constitution will be writing according to the Muslim Holy book and that because of the majority in Iraq are Muslims, but that does not mean that other religions has follow Islamic law in everything especially the legal issues with marriage, death, and religious practices,

I think the media added some flavor on it.

I guess all this is just to say that most Iraqi Muslims don't want Sharia rule any more than most American Christians would want Jerry Falwell writing our constitution.

If the media (both Arab and American) can't keep the people from voting, they'll try the next best thing - trying to scare us with the results.