Monday, August 06, 2012

USCIRF Issues New Report On Constitutions Of Muslim Countries

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom last Friday released a new report titled The Religion-State Relationship & the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Constitutions of Majority Muslim Countries and Other OIC Members.  It surveys the constitutions of 46 Muslim-majority countries and 10 others that are OIC members. According to USIRF's summary of the report:
Approximately 44% of the world’s Muslim population live in 23 majority Muslim countries that have declared Islam to be the state religion; the remaining 56% live in countries that either proclaim the state to be secular or make no pronouncements concerning an official state religion.
Approximately 39% of the world’s Muslims live in 22 countries whose constitutions provide that Islamic law, principles, or jurisprudence should serve as a source of, or limitation on, general legislation or certain select matters.  This is the case in 18 of the 23 countries where Islam is the religion of the state, as well as four majority Muslim countries where Islam is not the declared state religion.
Only 6 of the countries surveyed, in all of which Islam is the declared state religion, provide no constitutional provision at all concerning religious freedom specifically.  Other countries, including ones in which Islam is the declared state religion, provide constitutional guarantees of the right to freedom of religion or belief, which comply in varying degrees to international human rights norms.