Iraqi MP Iyad Jamal Al-Din Says Iraqis Should Be Grateful to US for Liberating Iraq
Iraqi Parliamentarian Iyad Jamal Al-Din argued against the concept of an Islamic State. He also spoke up for human rights including the freedom to consume booze in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV on December 14, 2007.
Watching America and MEMRI reported this story:
Jamal Al-Din: One of the benefits of the secular regime, which is based on the principle of respect for human rights… It makes no difference whether a person is a religious authority or a depraved singer – both are human beings. The secular regime protects the freedom of all – the dancer in a disco…
Interviewer: As long as his liberties do not have a negative effect…
Jamal Al-Din: As long as it is not at the expense of the other. A religious authority cannot be at the expense of a bar, and vice versa. This is how a neutral regime – the secular regime – is formed. The religious regime does come at the expense of the bars, and vice versa.
Interviewer: Do you, a religious cleric, demand that the bars be allowed to exist?
Jamal Al-Din: Definitely. I delivered a speech in 2003, and our brothers, the great “believers,” made tapes out of it, because it was during the elections campaign. They handed out the tapes to people, and said I was openly calling for freedom for bars. I reiterate that I call for bars to be allowed [to operate] freely.
Interviewer: How come? Doesn’t Islam forbid alcohol consumption? Don’t you, as a cleric, assume that those things are prohibited?
Jamal Al-Din: These things are forbidden to me. Personally, I make sure I don’t commit such a sin – and I consider it to be a sin, which undoubtedly leads one to Hell – but this is a personal conviction, which I do not impose on you or anyone else. The others are free to do as they please.
…President Bush and America should be thanked for saving us from that idol that wanted to be worshipped like Allah. If you were to go to Iraq in the days of Saddam Hussein – it was Saddam who [decided] everything from A to Z. Saddam gave life and took life, and decided if people would be rich or poor.
MEMRI has the video.