Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.
English translation of the response by the Office of His Eminence Ayatullah Seestani in Najaf to questions from Washington Post:
1- Is there a substitute for a general election to write the constitution, for example small committees chosen by the Iraqi people who will in turn nominate a constitution drafting body?
2- Where does religion fit in the future Iraqi constitution?
3- What do you think about a federal system, is it appropriate for Iraq?
4- What do you feel about the forces working in Iraq to keep peace and security, like the Bulgarians and Polish forces?
5- What is your opinion about the transitional governing council?
6- Did you meet Sayyid Muqtada Al-Sadr last week - he mentioned in an interview with Al-Arabia news channel that he met you after the events in Karbala – and what went on at that meeting?
7- Are you worried about a Shia-Shia conflict in the future?
In The Name of Allah The Merciful, Most Merciful
1- There is no substitute for a general election to choose the constitution council members.
2- Islam is the religion of the majority of the Iraqi people it is obvious that hands elected by the Iraqi people to draft the constitution will include the values and noble teaching of Islam in the constitution.
3- The Iraqi peoples’ representatives for the elected constitution drafting council will decide this.
4- If there is a need for them here then they should fall under UN supervision and not the occupying forces.
5- His Eminence has not mentioned anything about this council. The Iraqi people hope that the council will spare no effort in facilitating the affaires of the country during the transition period by providing security and stability and general services and to also pave the way for the election of a constitution council - deferring decisive decisions until the establishment of an elected government after the end of the occupation.
6- He visited the Offices of His Eminence and met with members of staff who emphasized the need to submit all unauthorized weapons to the relevant national forces in order to prevent future armed clashes.
7- If swift measures are not taken by the Iraqi national forces to withdraw all unauthorized weapons and consolidate the national forces responsible for providing peace and security then there may in future be dangerous problems unrelated to the Shia arena.
Seal of the Office of Ayatullah Seestani - Najaf
27 Sha’ban 1424
24 October 2003