03/17/2005, 00.00
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Survey shows Iraqis oppose Sharia in constitution

Human rights protection and freedom of religion and expression are main values to be put in new constitution.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Iraq's constitution should ensure the Muslim identity of the country but should not include Sharia or Islamic Law, this according to the recently-released results of a survey conducted on February 27-March 5 by the Washington-based International Republican Institute.

The survey of 1,967 Iraqis in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces (excluded were predominantly Sunni provinces of Al-Anbar and Niniveh, and predominantly Kurdish Dohuk) showed that 22.3 per cent said that ensuring the "Muslim identity of Iraq" was the most important thing the constitution should do; another 13.8 per cent said protecting human rights was paramount; 10.8 per cent said freedom of religion and 8.9 per cent, freedom of expression. Only 4.4 per cent believe Sharia should be the most important element.

The survey revealed that 61.5 per cent of Iraqis believe that their country was headed in the right direction compared to only 23.2 percent who felt it was headed in the wrong direction. Last October the two groups were respectively 41.9 per cent versus 45.3 per cent.

In Sunni areas, 32.7 per cent believing the country was headed in the right direction, up from 12 per cent in January before the elections.

Even though 53.2 per cent of those polled feared for their personal safety, 65.7 per cent said they were confident about the future. Another 43 per cent denied they lived better before the US-led invasion.

The main problem facing the country today was lack of electrical power (19.6 per cent per cent), health care (17,5per cent), and foreign troops (10.7 per cent).

Political leaders find little favour among those polled: 72.9 per cent said that none of parties or political leaders shared their values or ideals. Conversely, religious leaders were liked by 78 per cent of the people.

Despite the lack of trust in politicians and parties, most respondents have confidence in the new Transitional National Assembly that must write the new constitution: about 70 per cent believe that it will represent the entire Iraqi people. (LF)

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