The United States yesterday finally abandoned the fading dream of turning Iraq into a beacon of secular democracy in the Middle East, as it backed demands for the new constitution to enshrine Islamic religious law.

This raises the prospect of new laws being assessed against verses from the Koran, and risks alienating the country’s non-Muslim minorities as well as more secular Muslim groups, particularly the Kurds.

The move came 24 hours before the expiry of a deadline for the constitution to be approved, and will appease the Shias who dominated in January’s election.

Though still not going as far as fundamentalist Islamic groups had demanded – they wanted Islam to be the “sole” source for legislation -the wording marks a fundamental concession by the US as it ends the possibility of a separation of religion and state. It paves the way for far more conservative social legislation, for example diminishing the divorce rights of women, as it could allow Islamic clerics to serve on the high court, which will be responsible for interpreting the constitution. ~The Daily Telegraph

This will be ruinous for those Christians who have stayed in Iraq since the invasion and makes a final mockery of the proposition that the war has advanced anything like real liberty (not that wars ever do). It is perfectly understandable and predictable that in a democratic dispensation in an Islamic country that this would happen, which should tell us everything we need to know about the hostility and threat to liberty that democracy and Islam represent in their own ways.