- The Constitution balances Islam with Democracy, and guarantees the political and religious freedoms of individuals (not just groups). Freedom of belief is repeatedly mentioned in various articles of the constitution, and the State is explicitly forbidden from imprisoning anyone for their religious or political beliefs – a protection that would be welcome in most countries in the Middle East today. Popular sovereignty is also enshrined, and ultimate authority resides with the people.
- The Constitution recognizes pluralism – a revolutionary concept in most of the Middle East. It even recognizes the rights of any region to designate its own official language,
- There is room in the constitution for women’s rights to be curtailed in the name of Islam in the future, but the barriers are higher than in most Arab countries, and women are guaranteed a political voice with a 25% quota. They have even gained some important new rights, like the right to pass on their citizenship to their children. For now it seems that the civil family law of 1959 remains in place, as there is no mention of family law being subject to religious courts.
- A number of key freedoms can be restricted by law in the name of “public order and morality” such as Freedom of expression, freedom of the media and freedom of association and peaceful protest. Even if this does not seem to apply to the right to form a political party, it seems that a party could be restricted it its ability to express itself and to organize.
- The make-up of the court that will judge the constitutionality of laws is still to be resolved by parliament. It is to include “judges and experts in Shar’ia and law.” It does not specify whether the Shar’ia experts must be clerics (the parliament might decide that), nor what the balance will be between Shari’a experts and judges would be. But the court would be appointed by elected representatives, making it accountable to the people.
CORRECTION (8/25): 1) It appears that the Arabic version does mention that family law would automatically revert to religious courts, but Iraqis will have the right to opt out of religious courts and civil law will also remain in place. 2) The 25% quota for women is in the "Interim" section of the constitution, its status is still unclear.