Afghan Constitutional Debacle

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Afghan Constitutional Debacle


Byline: Bruce Fein, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Taliban's wretched theocracy in Afghanistan succumbed to the U.S. military two years ago. Ordinary Afghan citizens wept with joy. But few shed the religious, tribal and ethnic based attitudes and practices that have defeated freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Afghanistan for millennia.

The draft Afghan constitution, released last month and fashioned under the guidance of the United States, celebrates religious intolerance and the supremacy of the Sunni sect of Islam. Benighted mullahs command greater constitutional standing than secular democrats.

The post-Taliban constitutional debacle should have taught the Bush administration a cluster of nation-building axioms: that political and social culture must be transformed before inaugurating popular elections and majority rule; that democratic-friendly cultural transformations require decades - not years abbreviated by presidential politics - of U.S. occupation and governance; and that tyranny by the majority is tyranny, not democracy.

But like the French Bourbons, the Bush presidency seems to forget nothing and learn nothing. Its Afghanistan folly has been repeated in Iraq, which each unfolding day there confirms.

The draft constitution denies equal justice under law to non-Sunnis and women. The preamble proclaims on behalf of the people of Afghanistan a belief "in the sacred religion of Islam." In other words, non-Muslims are subservient to the 85 percent Sunni Afghan majority.

Article 2 of the draft enshrines Islam as the official religion. Non-Muslims may practice their creeds only to the extent permitted under laws enacted by the Muslim majority in the National Assembly. The prospects of religious minorities are bleak. The history of Afghanistan is a history of religious intolerance. Shi'ite s, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other sects have been generally unwelcome and subjugated.

Article 3 condemns any law "contrary to the sacred religion of Islam." Accordingly, the Holy Koran, the Sunna and Sharia, as interpreted and applied by mullahs, are the supreme law of the land. A law that endowed women or non-Muslims with equal rights, for instance, would be unconstitutional.

Article 17 obligates the state to indoctrinate students in Islam, and to upgrade the "conditions of mosques, madrassasas and religious centers." Categorically rejected are the separation of church and state and evenhanded treatment of all religious sects embraced in the United States Constitution. Indeed, no popularly elected Afghan official or popular leader, past or present, has ever urged or praised freedom of religion in the manner of George Washington, James Madison or Thomas Jefferson.

Article 35 suppresses political parties which dissent from "the sacred religion of Islam. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Afghan Constitutional Debacle
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.