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Proposed personal status law will not help Iraqi Jaafaris

A proposed law to protect the personal status of Shiite Jaafaris is redundant and may in fact cause them harm.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Rafi Essawi (R) meets with Hassan al-Shammari, head of the Iraqi Islamic al Fadila parliamentary bloc, in Baghdad October 1, 2010. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXSX67
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Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari recently prepared a new draft law regarding Jaafari [Shiite] personal status and Jaafari jurisprudence. He then submitted the law to the Council of Ministers, so that the latter can vote on it and then it can be sent to parliament to become law. Jaafari is the term used to refer to jurisprudential matters concerning Iraqi Shiites, who make up the majority of the country's citizens. The Iraqi public is sharply divided over this issue for two reasons. First, the draft law is linked to sectarian identity, and second it is linked to the conflict over whether the state should choose a secular or religious identity.

Defenders of the draft law have expressed their happiness that the law was issued, because of its role in strengthening the particularity of Jaafari jurisprudence. Janan al-Breisim, a member of parliament from the Islamic Virtue Party, to which Shammari belongs, said that the proposed law is based on Article 41 of the Constitution, which states: "The followers of all religions and sects are free in managing their sect's endowments, affairs and religious institutions in accordance with their religions, sects, beliefs or choices."

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