Religious Minorities find Protection in Southern Iraq

Basra Governor Majed Nasraoui promised on March 16, 2016, to members of the Sabean sect that their religious celebration in the coming year would be held in the land allocated to them for the establishment of a mandi, and that the local government would contribute to its construction.

Writer and civil activist Ali Abu Iraq told Al-Monitor over the phone that he was unsurprised by the interest in providing places of worship for minority groups. He said, “Flexibility and tolerance are among the most important characteristics of the Basra community. We see members of minority groups taking part in social and religious events, as Christians, Sabeans and other minorities peacefully coexist with the Basra community.”

Harith al-Harthy, a parliamentarian for the Reform Front, told Al-Monitor, “The construction of places of worship for minorities is a right granted by the constitution, which guarantees in Article 2.2 the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice such as Christians, Yazidis and Sabean Mandaeans.”

He went on, “According to Article 39, Iraqis are free to practice their religions, sects, beliefs or choices, and Article 41 says that the followers of all religions and sects are free in the practice of religious rites and management of their endowments and affairs.”

This is the article on which the Office of Christian, Yazidi and Sabean Endowments has been established to sponsor the construction of places of worship.

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