GREEN EURO-MPs Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert have backed a call by Kurdish women's groups and MPs to drop references to Islam and Sharia law in the draft regional constitution for Kurdistan.
Adopting Sharia law will effectively impose gender apartheid on Kurdish women, the MEPs warn, and would be likely to promote a rise in violent sectarianism.
Speaking on International Women's Day, Dr Lucas, South-East England's MEP, said: "Making Sharia Law the basis for future lawmaking in Kurdistan is a recipe for attacks on women's rights.
"Religion is, and should be, a private matter for individuals. We demand the separation of religion from the state and education system, in Kurdistan and in the UK and around the world."
Her London counterpart Jean Lambert added: "Article Seven of the proposed regional constitution for Kurdistan dictates that the fundamental tenets of Islamic Sharia law will be considered as one of the major sources for legislation making.
"As we mark International Women's Day we must remember that women and members of both religious and sexual minorities suffer daily discrimination and human rights abuses the world over.
"It is crucial that we recognize the bravery of those that continue to campaign on these issues often risking their own lives. We must never stop fighting for equality and an end to this discrimination and that means listening to the women of Kurdistan who are calling for a secular authority in the region."
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Notes to editors:
Jean and Caroline have both signed a petition calling for Article 7 to be dropped
from the proposed constitution. See http://www.petitiononline.com/15122006/petition.html
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.