Iraq: Patriarch calls protest against law on Islamization of minors

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Under new legislation, children in Iraq will be automatically registered as Muslim when they are born. Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Louis has called for a demonstration to protest against the law which is being described as ‘the Islamization of minors’. Campaigners will gather on Tuesday, November 10, in front of the Chaldean Church of Saint George in Baghdad to protest.

In addition to Christians from different denominations, the protest will be attended will be attended by groups belonging to the religious communities of the Yazidis, Mandaeans and Sabean, political activists and representatives of civil society organizations.

In a statement, released by the Chaldean Patriarchate, Patriarch Raphael I Louis reiterates that the law on the Islamization of minors represents a violation for the unity among the different components of the Iraqi people.

The Primate of the Chaldean Church points out that such a legal provision violates articles of the Iraqi constitution that protects citizens from discrimination, and also contradicts the teachings of the Koran, which says that there can be no pressure in religion.

The Patriarch also appeals to Iraqi President Fuad Masum, so that the law is amended in Parliament and the steps that make it discriminatory are corrected. Otherwise – warns the Chaldean Patriarch – an appeal to the courts and international bodies that protect human rights has already been prepared.

On October 27, the Iraqi Parliament rejected a proposal – made by Christian representatives, but supported by parliamentarians belonging to different alliances, to amend the law according to which a child is automatically registered as a Muslim, even if only one parent converts to Islam. The proposal asked to add a sentence in the section of law regarding minors, in order to establish that children remain in the religion of their family until they reach eighteen years of age, and then freely choose the religion they want.