Army and police should avoid recruiting on ethnic and sectarian grounds

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Azzaman, February 6, 2013

The Iraqi army and security forces should belong to the nation at large and not a specific sect or ethnic group.

National identity that transcends sectarian divisions is vital for Iraq’s prosperity and future as a unified country.

Therefore, it is shocking and mind-boggling to see the government, through the Defense Ministry, handing out recruitment forms with questions about the applicant’s sectarian or ethnic identity.

The forms, of which the newspaper has obtained authentic copies, have been distributed to all recruitment centers as well as army and police corps.

The forms make it incumbent not only on applicants but every member of the armed forces and security personnel to reveal their religious, sectarian, and ethnic affiliation.

The forms go as far as asking for the person’s political affiliation.

The government should understand that the forms in their present shape are a stark violation of the constitution which calls for non-discrimination among Iraqis on grounds of religious, sectarian or ethnic belonging.

Some of the questions in these forms are queer and strange as they ask personnel on their opinion of the neighboring states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait at a time there is no mention of Iran

Others are not only unwise but stupid since they enquire about a person’s stand vis-à-vis the execution of former president Saddam Hussein and which preacher and sermon they prefer.

For these forms to be issued by the Iraqi government is unacceptable. Moreover, they constitute a stigma of shame for the authorities.