On Aug. 23, President Bush said, "The fact that Iraq will have a democratic constitution that honors women's rights, the rights of minorities, is, is going to be an important change in the, in the broader Middle East." (New York Times)
Reality Check: Although the president may be well intentioned in his "wishful thinking" statement, it appears obvious he has never read the Quran or the key tenants of Islamic "Sharia" law. If he did, he would know that Sharia law (the proposed backbone of the new Iraqi constitution that nullifies all laws that contradict the beliefs of Islam) is the antithesis of a handbook on women's rights.
The best laid plans of nice men are may quickly go awry as pressure mounts for Iraq to adopt a final constitution aimed at resolving thousands of years of disputes with a two-headed hydra: a "democratic" constitution embedded with Sharia law. Frankly, in the opinion of this writer, this animal ain't gonna fly.
Why? Because it will likely lead to Muslim clerics sitting as Supreme Court justices, striking down any law that conflicts with Islamic (Sharia) law. And why not? The new Iraq constitution essentially states that now law can be passed that conflicts with Sharia law.
Sadly, this ancient nation appears to have traded one secular dictator for a whole set of even worse oppressors -- hundreds, if not thousands of Islamic mullahs who may soon be empowered to overrule virtually any democratic freedom, thwart any democratic law, supplanting them with harsh Sharia law -- laws that, frankly, throw human rights for women back into the Stone Age.
If this happens, President Bush's naive statement may go down in history along side Neville Chamberlain's infamous assurances that Hitler was a man of peace.
If Sharia law becomes the governing doctrine of Iraq, a fair question might be: "When did you stop beating your wives?" The answer: "I never stopped. Sharia law forbids me to stop beating them."
SO, IS THIS THE NOBLE PURPOSE FOR WHICH U.S. CITIZENS PAID HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS? IS THIS THE HIGH CALLING FOR WHICH OUR SOLDIERS DIED? SIMPLY TO GIVE MUSLIM MEN THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO BRUISE ARMS?
I think not.
Granted, not all Muslim men beat their wives even if Muslim Sharia law gives them the "right" to do so, but why should even one Iraqi woman be subjected to such abuse?
The American people deserve to see the free Iraq that their soldiers died for. These precious men and women of valor did not give their lives simply to create The Islamic Republic of Iraq. And now that Iraqi men and women have had a taste of freedom, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to throw them back under the bondage of the harsh Sharia law that currently enslaves the people of Iran and Sudan. We cannot -- we must not-- allow this to happen to the people of Iraq.
Today, there are just over 1 million non-Arab, non-Muslim, indigenous people of Iraq, many of whom have lived in the land now longer than both the Arabs and Kurds. Some of these non-Muslim people groups have been on the receiving end of genocide campaigns for centuries. In these historic bloodbaths, Muslims have killed down the oldest inhibitors of Iraq (formerly Mesopotania/Asia Minor/Assyria/Babylon) from many millions to just over 1 million. And, sadly, if Sharia law becomes constitutionally protected in Iraq, it could soon be "open season" on Iraq's non-Muslims. Why? Simply because Islamic law not only encourages, but commands Muslims to convert or kill non-Muslims.
Over the years, life has been particularly tough for women in the Kurdish regions of Iraq. Even when non-Muslim women were shown "mercy" by not being killed, they faced what some might call "a fate worse than death": female circumcision. Although not widely reported in Western media, there is already extreme social pressure put on Iraqi women to comply with Kurdish Sharia law that requires female circumcision to "protect her" from being considered "ritually unclean" by the mullahs.
IS THIS THE HIGH CALLING AMERICA HAS TO LEAVE IRAQI WOMEN AS A LEGACY? THE CONSTITUTIONAL "RIGHT" TO HAVE THEIR CLITORISES SURGICALLY ALTERED OR CUT OFF COMPLETELY?
Again, I think not. But if Sharia law is enshrined in the current proposed constitution for Iraq, thousands, perhaps millions, of women could quickly become maimed for life.
Who are these forgotten minorities?
Iraq's forgotten minorities including the Assyrians from the ancient Assyrian Empire ("The men of Nineveh" referred to by Jesus Christ himself in the Bible and the one remaining people groups on Earth who can watch "The Passion" by Mel Gibson without subtitles since their native tongue is ancient Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.)
Other non-Muslim and non-Arab Iraqi minorities include Mandeans and Yezidis, plus there are the often-forgotten minority Muslim groups such as the Turkoman and Shabak who are oppressed by Barzani Kurds. Although hardly mentioned in the major media, these ancient people have been fleeing Iraq in unprecedented numbers under persecution by Islamic militants and severe discrimination by the Kurdish Muslims, among whom many of these minorities live in northern Iraq.
Chaldo-Assyrians and human-rights activists charge that the Kurds are diverting the share of the non-Kurdish minorities' aid to areas inhabited by Kurds. As a result, Christian villages, largely, have not benefited from U.S. reconstruction funds and remain uninhabitable, lacking basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, schools, roads and health clinics.
Under the current proposed constitution is the potential for the ancient Assyrian Nineveh Province to be "gobbled up" by Kurds. This very real concern has already caused between 60,000 and 80,000 Chaldo-Assyrian Christians -- up to 10 percent of their total population -- to have left Iraq over the past year. And how much worse would it be for these oppressed non-Muslim minorities if overnight the law of the land would become Islamic law? Such law permits and even encourages the mass murder of non-Muslims.
Sound impossible? Two million "conscientious objectors" to Sharia law died brutal deaths in the Islamic Republic of Sudan. How difficult would it be to annihilate the remaining one million non-Muslims of Iraq if outrageous Sharia law gains constitutional protection and enforcement? And what might the gravestone read on such a mass grave?
Perhaps, "RIP: 1 million men who refused to beat their Iraqi wives."
By Jerry McGlothlin
Jerry McGlothlin is an Assyrian-American.