British Cardinal urges Foreign Secretary on protection for Christians in Iraq

.- Catholic Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England, vowed for a increased protection of Christians in Iraq.

In a letter to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sent last Friday, he warned the foreign secretary of “devastating consequences” if the right of Christians in Iraq are not protected. He urged him to intervene in the drafting of the future constitution to uphold religious freedom, following the same call issued by Pope Benedict in a recent declaration.

Christian leaders in Iraq fear that the charter could open the way for the imposition of sharia law which, could deprive Christians and other minorities of their rights.

They are alarmed about article 2(a) in the proposed constitution, which states: "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam."

Many fear that if Islam became the sole source of legislation in Iraq, Christians could face restrictions on church repairs or building, and Christian women could be forced to wear the veil.

About three per cent of the population, 650,000 people, in Iraq are baptized Christians.

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