Minority Groups Concerned Over Iraqi Constitution's Lack of Protection for Religious Freedom

July 14, 2005

Source: The Washington Times


On July 14, 2005 The Washington Times reported, "A month before the debuting of a new Iraqi constitution, the country's religious minorities are worried the document may leave out any meaningful provisions for religious freedom. A panel representing three of those minorities called on the United States to ensure the constitution, to be revealed Aug. 15, benefits them as well as the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds... '[B]eing invaded by the United States of America, who promised to bring equality, justice, democracy and pluralism to Iraq, we expect the fulfillment of those promises,' [said Orhan Keten, the U.S. representative of the Iraqi Turkmen Front.] The panel, speaking yesterday at the National Press Club, was a rare gathering of spokesmen for Iraq's Chaldo/Assyrian Catholics, whose 800,000 adherents in northern Iraq are rapidly dwindling; Iraqi Turkmen Muslims; and Mandaeans, who follow John the Baptist as God's chief prophet. They were joined by Nina Shea, a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, who said a draft of the religious freedom provisions in the new constitution may be available this week."