Ayatollah al-Sistani (file photo)
8 February 2005 -- A spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said today that the influential Shi'a cleric is not demanding that any new Iraqi constitution be based on Shari'a, or Islamic law.
Hamid al-Khafaf said al-Sistani maintains his previous position that the new constitution should respect the Islamic cultural identity of the Iraqi people.
Al-Khafaf said al-Sistani has not changed his position on that and that the details of the constitution are a matter for elected representatives of the Iraqi people.
A recent report in "The New York Times" suggested that leading Shi'a clerics in Iraq, including al-Sistani, were pushing for any new Iraqi constitution to be Islamic in nature.
(dpa/Reuters)For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".