The new Iraq Constitution gives hope that, in a post-Saddam era, this ancient nation may arise as the first truly democratic republic in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the operative word here is “hope.” The new Constitution, with the blessings of the United States and Great Britain, has instead turned the once-secular Iraq into an Islamic republic.

The new Iraqi Constitution states, as follows: “Article (2): 1st – Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation: (a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.” The reality is that this new constitution subjugates Iraq’s 700,000 Christians, its less than 100 remaining Jews, and an indeterminate number of secular Iraqis to the reign of Islamic law.

In modern times, Iraq’s Jewish community has been virtually destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists. In 1950, after repeated terrorist attacks on Iraq’s Jewish community, the government encouraged Iraqi Jews to flee their homeland by allowing immigration to Israel. One-hundred twenty-thousand Jews fled this domestic terrorism and arrived in Israel, penniless, as the Iraqi government saw fit to freeze the assets of departing Jews. Today, like the Jews before them, Christian Iraqis are fleeing their homes in this once Christian nation. (The nation today known Iraq was, at one time, part of Assyria, which was the first nation to accept Christianity; the Assyrian Church was founded in A.D. 33.)

A series of church bombings in August and September have reportedly been linked to the exodus of as many as 40,000 Christians from Iraq. Prior to these attacks, which have gone largely unreported by the Western media, kidnappings, bombings and murder by Muslim extremists resulted in a flood of Christian refugees into neighboring Jordan and Syria. According to the Syrian government, more than half of the 4,000 families from Iraq officially registered as “refugees” from Iraq are Christians. Since there are approximately 300,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria, it can be safely assumed that the number of Christians who have fled the newly Islamic Iraq for secular Syria is in excess of 150,000 individuals.

The most troubling phrase in the new Iraqi Constitution is as follows: “No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.” The only undisputed rules in Islam are those found in their holy book, the Quran. Muslims believe that the Quran is the literal word of God and that it was relayed to the prophet Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel. It is certainly not my right to question the legitimacy of another’s religion, but it is an irrefutable duty to report, accurately, on its view of Christians and Jews.

According to the Quran, “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam. (Q 3:19)” A few verses later, this holy book teaches, “He that chooses a religion over Islam, it will not be accepted from him and in the world to come he will be one of the lost. (Q 3:86)” The followers of Christianity have, clearly, chosen a religion over Islam and are, therefore, considered infidels and idolaters by members of the Islamic faith. This automatically puts them in grave danger in any Islamic society, as the Quran dictates that followers of Islam may “Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage. (Q 2:190-3)”

Soon after, this good book claims, that Gabriel ordered Muhammad on behalf of God to “make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. (Q 9:73)” Since Islam claims the same God of Abraham who is worshiped by the Christians and Jews, one must seriously ask why God would order the destruction of his own chosen people.

It is also interesting, from a comparative religious standpoint, that God spoke directly to his prophet Moses in the Torah and it is the Holy Ghost that spoke to Simeon in the New Testament of the Christians. (St. Luke 2:25-26) Without questioning the authenticity of Islam, one must wonder why God did not see fit to communicate his word directly to Muhammad. Was Simeon more worthy of direct dialogue with God than Muhammad? And why would God relegate a being, claiming to be Gabriel, to rescind his covenant with Moses? These are questions I dare not answer, but they ought to be considered by greater minds than mine.

The Quran is now the law of the land in Iraq. Its own words and the actions of its followers make clear that this is a tragic day for Iraqi Christians. Today, no law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed tenets of Islam, and the undisputed rules teach that it is righteous to slaughter both Christians and Jews. How, then, can the new Iraqi government pass any law that protects its Christian minority? As one who respects the religion of any person who worships a Supreme Being, I am deeply offended by Iraq’s new constitution and fear for the future bloodshed that history shows it will inevitably create.

William John Hagan is a weekly columnist for the Houston Home Journal, published in middle Georgia. He is also a fiction writer who has completed his first novel, “Divine Providence.” He is currently at work on his first non-fiction book, “A Secret History of Freemasonry in America.”

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