However, this constitution also states that no law can be passed that contradicts the "established rulings" of Islam. This second statement has been highly condemned by critics both inside and outside Iraq, due to its blatant contradictory turn. This is obviously a setback for a majority of Iraq's population, which are namely women.
According to a notable Iraqi expert this governmental document will easily deprive the Iraqi women of their rights. Another leader and secular activist, who is at the head of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, is upset by this Islamic provision, as it will surely turn the country into the equivalent of an Afghanistan under the Taliban, where oppression and discrimination of women is institutionalized.
These criticisms are a great cause of concern, as this new constitution leads to a great amount of ambiguity and worries the Iraqi women and the womens organizations for their rights.
However, the government claims that this document is the centrality of Islamic law and does not necessarily threaten to cause trouble for Iraqi women. The government stresses that they are open to a wide range of understanding, and that this can be noticed across the Islamic world today. In fact progressive Muslims are seeking to reinterpret its rules to accommodate a modern role for women.
Iraq's constitution does not specify who will decide which version of Islam will prevail in the country's new legal system. However, the battle has already started and a victory by the progressives would have positive implications for all aspects of the future of Iraq, since women's rights are critical to democratic consolidation in transitional and war-torn societies.
Allowing a full social, political, and economic role for women in Iraq would help ensure its transition to a stable democracy. Success for women in Iraq would also reverberate throughout the broader Muslim world. In every country where sharia is enforced, women's rights have become a divisive issue, and the balance struck between tradition and equality in Iraq will influence these other debates.