Iraq: Parliament rejects the controversial law which threatened religious freedom in the country

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Iraqi Christians

The Iraqi government opts against the controversial legislation, which caused much annoyance among Christians in Iraq.

In keeping with details, the controversial legislation which forced children of converts to Islam to be regarded as Muslims has been voted out by the Iraqi Parliament. In a voting session held in the Parliament, the Iraqi parliament opted to amend Act 26 of the Constitution, with 140 votes of 206.

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Under this law, if any one of the parents of the children converts to Islam from other religion, the children would automatically be recognized as Muslim by the state. This law had seen immense opposition from the religious minorities in the country.

Since the news of annulment of this law spread, the Christians in Iraq have expressed relief. They had earlier staged protests against this contentious law. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako said, that for the Iraqi Christian community this is an act of fairness and equality, and a key step in the direction “of freedom and democracy in Iraq.”

Moreover, he said, “This decision shows support and is an important message for the minorities especially Christians in Iraq. It is also a clear demonstration of democracy.”

Christian leaders had in past times, been raising voices against this law strongly opposing it. Further more, the Christian members of the Iraqi Parliament had proposed an amendment under which children of Christian parents; out of which one person had converted to Islam are allowed to choose their religion at the age of 18, until then they remain Christians.

In the past, the Chaldean prelate had brought together strong public resistance to this legislation and had warned the authorities to raise the issue in front of the international courts. Some members of the Muslim community also joined members of the Chaldean Christian community in protesting against this law. In this regard, he released a statement thanking “all parliamentarians and those who have supported the amendment of this unjust article.”