Three out of four Iraqis say Islam should be source of law

Baghdad, Iraq - Three out of four Iraqis believe Islam should be the main or only source of law and legislation in their country, according to a poll of 2,700 Iraqis.

While just over 74 percent thought Islam should be the sole or main source of legislation, just 2 percent said religion should play no role in law-making, a poll showed Friday.

The findings come as parliament prepares to draft a new constitution, which will notably focus on the role of Islam,

Iraq's official religion, in society.

The poll was based on some 2,705 interviews conducted from April 11 to April 20 by an Iraqi firm employed by the conservative US International Republican Institute.

Predominantly Sunni provinces of Anbar and Ninevah, where insurgents are believed to be concentrated, and Kurdish Dohuk were excluded from the poll. Respondents were drawn from Iraq's 15 other provinces.

In findings similar to a previous poll done by the democracy group, 48 percent of Iraqis continue to believe religion "has a special role to play in government", while 46 percent believe religion and government "should respect one another."

However, power cuts were a more pressing worry than security for the man on the street at the time of the survey.

More than 250 Iraqis, many of them recruits to Iraqi security forces, have been killed in the past week.

Inadequate electricity was "the most important issue requiring a government solution," for some 55 percent of respondents, the poll showed, followed closely by unemployment and national security.

And 67 percent of Iraqis now think the country is going in the right direction, the most optimistic response in the last year, the poll showed. Some 22 percent said Iraq was going in the wrong direction.

Sentiment hit an all-time low in early October 2004, as US forces started pounding Fallujah from the air ahead of a November ground assault on the town, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Baghdad, the poll showed.

Some 45 percent of of Iraqis said the country was going in the wrong direction at the time, edging past the 42 percent who felt more positive.