BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islam will be “the main source” of Iraq’s law and parliament will observe religious principles, negotiators said on Saturday after what some called a major turn in talks on the constitution and a shift in the U.S. position.
If agreed by Monday’s parliamentary deadline, it would appear to be a major concession to Islamist leaders from the Shi’ite Muslim majority and sit uneasily with U.S. insistence on the primacy of democracy and human rights in the new Iraq.
U.S. diplomats, who have been shepherding the process closely, declined immediate comment and at least one secular Kurdish politician said Kurds would try to block such a deal.
But an official from one of the main Shi’ite Islamist parties and a leading Sunni Arab negotiator said agreement had been reached, reversing an understanding reached earlier in the recent talks that Islam would simply be “a main source” of law.
Parliament would not be able to pass legislation that contradicted the principles of Islam, several negotiators told Reuters. One Shi’ite official said that a constitutional court would decide whether laws conformed to Islamic faith.