How the White House Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Islamic Law

“The advance of women’s rights and the advance of liberty are ultimately inseparable.”
— President Bush, 3/14/04

“President Bush has made the advance of women’s human rights a global policy priority. … We all have an obligation to speak for women who are denied their rights to learn, to vote or to live in freedom.”
— First Lady Laura Bush, 3/8/05

“The commitment of this administration to women’s rights in Iraq is unshakable.”
— Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, 3/9/04

“There can be no compromise on the principle that Iraqis can each have an equal role in the building of their country’s future without regard to their ethnic or religious background or gender.”
— U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, 8/8/05


According to Kurdish and Sunni negotiators, the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, proposed that Islam be named “a primary source” and supported a wording which would give clerics authority in civil matters such as divorce, marriage and inheritance.

If approved, critics say that the proposals would erode women’s rights and other freedoms enshrined under existing laws. … Dozens of women gathered in central Baghdad yesterday to protest against what the organiser, Yanar Mohammad, feared would be a “fascist, nationalist and Islamist” constitution. “We are fighting to avoid becoming second class citizens,” she said.