02/14/2005, 00.00
IRAQ

Sharia will not be basic law, says Bishop Sako

The Bishop of Kirkuk tells AsiaNews that Sunnis will join the government because Shiites and Kurds cannot govern alone.

 

 

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – Mgr Louis Sako, the Bishop of Kirkuk, told AsiaNews that Sunnis will participate in the new government and Sharia will not be adopted as the country's basic law.

Despite low Sunni turnout, the prelate is convinced that Sunnis will be present in the new cabinet. Not only are they 20 per cent of Iraq's population, but Sunnis have been elected to the new National Assembly, and, more importantly, the Shiites and the Kurds cannot govern alone. Even though religious leaders have not expressed an opinion about the elections, the Sunni population shall be represented.

For the Mosul native, there "will not be a civil war because it is not in the nature of Iraqis". Most day-to-day crimes are "not political" but the action of common criminals.

Last week 400 criminals were arrested in Mosul. They confessed on television that they abducted people for money, not for political reasons.

"They are criminals whom Saddam freed on the eve of the war, rejects who have nothing to lose and turn to stealing and murder [to survive]. They have no political or religious motivations".

Speaking on the possibility that the Sharia may be adopted, Bishop Sako has no doubts. For him, "within the new political class, secularists are too strong and will not accept that the religious law become the basis of the new Iraq."

"Democracy in Iraq," he said, "can work only if all political forces get together, if all groups participate, if religious tolerance is upheld".

Christians have a role to play in the new Iraqi leadership even though Christian leaders made a mistake this time in trying to run on four separate tickets, splitting their vote. "But this is an error for people who are still inexperienced at democracy," he explained.

Christians who were elected to the National Assembly have learnt their lesson. Next time, they will run under a single banner. (VFP)

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