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Sunni Cleric Defends Constitution Opposition

Adnan Muhammad Salman al-Dulaymi, a well-known Sunni cleric and secretary-general of the Iraqi People's Congress (Mu'tamar Ahl Al-Iraq), defended the legitimacy of opposing the constitution draft in an interview with Radio Free Europe's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) on 29 September.

Al-Dulaymi: We will continue to be vocal about the draft as it does not fulfill the justified demands of the Iraqis on [the question of] national unity. There are paragraphs that have prepared the soil for the partition [of Iraq]. There are no explicit formulations that declare the Arab identity of Iraq. We will continue to call for a change to those [critical] paragraphs. If we manage to receive a sufficient proportion of votes in the National Assembly [after the next general elections], we will demand that those paragraphs be changed. To reach this goal, we will put forward our full strength, abilities, competencies, and insight....

RFI: Don't you think this could be seen as an obstruction to the political process in Iraq?

Al-Dulaymi: Everywhere in the world, opposition actually works for the benefit of government because it draws the government's attention to mistakes, and [the government] takes notices.... Opposition doesn't mean an obstruction to the political process. It is the right of every person and every citizen to express his [or her] opinion. When we say "No," it is a participation in the political process, not an obstruction to the political process.

(Translation by Petr Kubalek)