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Efforts to impose Sharia law in Iraq spark controversy

Attempts to establish Sharia law in Iraq have exacerbated political rifts in a country torn by those advocating secularism and those calling for an Islamic state.
A Muslim girl learns to read the Koran at a madrassa, or religious school, during the holy month of Ramadan in the old quarters of Delhi July 31, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY EDUCATION) - RTX125PR

Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari announced Oct. 23 that he had prepared a Sharia-based personal-status law and submitted it to the cabinet for approval and referral to the Council of Representatives for passage. Should the law be approved, Iraqi municipalities would be required to apply penalties that violate human rights, such as mutilation and stoning, among others.

The Iraqi religious parties, including al-Fadhila (Islamic Virtue Party), to which the justice minister belongs, welcomed the proposed law, lauding it as an achievement. During his announcement, Shammari claimed that the draft law followed on the request of Iraqi religious scholars and tribal leaders and was the product of consultations with Muslim authorities.

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