The following are excerpts from an interview with Iraqi politician Iyad Jamal Al-Din, which aired on LBC TV on July 31, 2005.
Al-Din: First of all, no can accuse me, Iyad Jamal Al-Din, of sectarianism, because I support a secular regime, which will fully separate religion and state.
I believe my freedom as a Shiite and as a religious person will never be complete unless I preserve the freedom of the Sunni, the Christian, the Jew, the Sabai, or the Yazidi. We will not be able to preserve the freedom of the mosque unless we preserve the freedom of entertainment clubs.
The curricula - both the modern ones in some Arab and Islamic countries, and the books of jurisprudence and heritage - have many flaws that must be fixed once and for all.
Read all of his comments. They are a bright, burning light in a region mostly in darkness.
This is someone who understands that freedom is possible only when everyone is free. One of the greatest advancements of western civilization was the separation of church and state that was highlighted in the American political experience. Only with such separation is true "freedom of religion" possible.
Iyad Jamal Al-Din appears to be a real Iraqi Statesman and a representative of a free and democratic Iraq. It is comforting to hear someone like him speak, when all we usually hear about are the squabbling religious factions.