Najaf Religious Authorities Rebuke IGC on Nationalities Law
The Interim Governing Council issued a new law on Iraqi nationality in September, allowing dual citizenship. A number of the IGC members have dual citizenship, which was prohibited under the Baath regime, and holders of dual nationality were forbidden to hold office. The new law also allows someone to become an Iraqi citizen even when his or her parents are unknown.
The law has drawn a sharp rebuke from the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and his colleagues in Najaf, who issued a fatwa or ruling denouncing the new law. The fatwa reminds the IGC that it has no legitimacy, since it has neither been recognized by the Najaf religious authorities nor been recognized by the Iraqi people through any sort of election. It says that the IGC should stick to issues such as security and services, and that it has no business attempting to legislate broadly, more especially when its legislation contradicts Shiite law. (-al-Sharq al-Awsat).
The fatwa is not so important for its stance on the nationality law as for what it says about the Interim Governing Council’s standing. Sistani has for the first time openly said that the IGC lacks legitimacy and that he has declined to give it his approval. He has also indicated that any Iraqi government could become legitimate only if it were both elected and approved by the religious institution.