The Iraqi constitution adopted in 1990 under Saddam Hussein was among the most
secular in the Arab world. It made no mention of Sharia -- Islamic religious law
-- although Islam was named the official state religion. It prohibited all forms
of discrimination, gender or other, and guaranteed freedom of expression as part
of "the revolutionary, national and progressive trend."
Here's how drafts of the new charter compare with some other Arab constitutions
on the role of Islamic law. English translations come either from official government
Web sites or from the International Constitutional Law Project in Bern, Switzerland.
Iraq: Although an earlier draft of the constitution described
Islam as "the main basis" of legislation, members of the drafting
committee have told The Associated Press that the phrases "a main source"
and "one of the sources" are also being considered.
Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia: These
do not mention Sharia in their constitutions. The constitution of Lebanon, a
mixed Muslim and Christian country, is the only Arab state not to name Islam
as the national religion, and does not mention any religion.
Egypt: The constitution, once largely secular, was amended
in 1971 to specify that "the principal source of legislation is Islamic
Oman: The Persian Gulf state's constitution says "the
Islamic Sharia is the basis of legislation."
Yemen: "Islamic jurisprudence is the main source of legislation."
Kuwait, a monarchy, and Syria, a republic: Both constitutions
say Islamic Sharia is "a main source of legislation."
Saudi Arabia: The government "derives power from the
Holy Quran and the Prophet's tradition," and Saudi society "will be
based on the principle