Tuesday, October 07, 2003

No Shariah?

Afghanistan is putting the final touches on their new Constitution. And it seems Shariah, strict Islamic law, will not be included.

A new constitution that will be put forward soon for ratification declares that Afghanistan is a Muslim state but stops short of imposing Islamic Shariah law, a contentious issue in this conservative nation, an Afghan official has told the Associated Press.


After 11 months of work by dozens of constitutional experts and three months of public consultations in which 150,000 people submitted suggestions, a draft is expected soon. The question of Shariah has been "a huge struggle" in the work on the constitution, said an Afghan official involved in the drafting.

"So far, the focus has been on trying to find a consensus," the official told AP on the condition on anonymity. But, he said, "a balance has been found."

The document's preamble declares "Afghanistan is an Islamic state" and says its laws must be in accordance with Islam, but it does not impose Shariah, the official said.

Later, in the same article quoted above, appears this bit:

While most Arab states define themselves as Muslim nations in their constitution, some call Shariah the basis of their laws and some make no mention of Shariah at all. Saudi Arabia enforces a version of Islamic law that is somewhat less strict than the Taliban's.

How's that for a back-handed compliment?


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