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August 22, 2011

Ugh Oh: Libyan Draft Constitution States Sharia is 'Principal Source of Legislation'

Topics: Libya

libya-flag-rebels-def1.pngAs Lachlan Markay notes over at The Foundry, the dust hasn't even settled over the Libyan capital of Tripoli since rebels took control over the weekend ... but already, a draft constitutional charter for the transitional state has appeared online. It is indeed just a draft, and its authenticity has not been confirmed (note that at the below link the draft has not been dated or signed). Keep in mind that there is also no way to know whether this draft or something similar will emerge as the final governing document for a new Libyan regime:

As both the Morning Bell and Washington in a Flash noted today, Heritage Fellow Jim Phillips recently pointed out that Islamist forces "appear to make up a small but not insignificant part of the opposition coalition," and must be prevented "from hijacking Libya's future." Parts of the draft Constitution allay those fears, while others exacerbate them.

Much of the document describes political institutions that will sound familiar to citizens of Western liberal democracies, including rule of law, freedom of speech and religious practice, and a multi-party electoral system.

But despite the Lockean tenor of much of the constitution, the inescapable clause lies right in Part 1, Article 1: "Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)." Under this constitution, in other words, Islam is law. That makes other phrases such as "there shall be no crime or penalty except by virtue of the law" and "Judges shall be independent, subject to no other authority but law and conscience" a bit more ominous.

The full Libya Draft Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Stage can be found here.

In some ways, Sharia being the principal source of legislation is no great surprise (in 1973 Muammar Gaddafi suspended all existing laws and implemented Sharia and 97% of the population practice Islam) ... and after reading the entire document one is left with the impression that it's an impressive start and in some ways, a promising beginning. Still, it's only a beginning, and we've yet to learn to what extent Islamists will take advantage of the opening given them in the draft making Sharia the law of the land.

More commentary on the transitional draft - here and here.

Posted by Hyscience at August 22, 2011 3:15 PM



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