ICC Note: A new Iraqi law regarding the national identity cards in Iraq now legislates the forced conversion of minors to Islam should their parents convert to Islam or if their mother should marry a Muslim. Church officials and other representatives from minority faiths have protested the law which passed the Iraqi parliament on October 27.
11/07/2015 Iraq (AINA) – The Iraqi Parliament passed a law on October 27 that will force Christian children to become Muslims if the male parent converts to Islam or if their Christian mother marries a Muslim. Christian step-children of a Muslim father would be forced to become Muslims. The law was specified in Article 26, paragraph 2, which says “children shall follow the religion of the converted parent to Islam.”
Assyrians, Yazidis, Mandeans, Kakai and Bahai leaders vigorously fought the law and their representatives walked out of the Parliament session in protest after it was passed. They had requested to add the following sentence to paragraph 2: “minors will keep their current religion until the completion of 18 years of age, then they have the right to choose their religion” — but this was rejected.
The new law, part of the National Card law, is an exact copy of article 21 paragraph 65 of the 1972 constitution of Iraq. It contradicts several articles in the current constitution of Iraq, including articles 2, 14, 37 and article 42.
Chaldean Patriarch Sako met yesterday with Iraqi President Fouad Masoum and discussed this issue. The President acknowledged some of the constitutional violations the national card legislation introduced and reiterated that he will make every effort to find a realistic solution to this issue.