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Iraqi constitution draft raises concerns over Islam, federalism

[JURIST] A new draft of the Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive] published Tuesday in Baghdad's Al-Sabah [media website] newspaper declares "Islam is the official religion of the state and is the main source of legislation," raising the concern of US authorities [JURIST report], especially regarding the future of women's rights [JURIST report]. The draft, which follows earlier unpublished drafts circulating in media reports over the past week, states that no law will be approved that violates the "rules of Islam," and gives Shiite religious leaders a "guiding role." Federalism is also a major point of contention in the new Iraqi constitution, with Kurds favoring stronger regional autonomy [FT article] and calling for the right to hold an internal referendum in eight years to determine whether northern Kurdish provinces should remain a part of Iraq. Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani [BBC profile] has now urged the media to refrain from publishing drafts unless they are officially released by the constitutional committee, stressing that the published draft is among several and a final version will not be available until parliament approves it by August 15. AP has more.

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