Imagine asking the British people to vote in a major political referendum on the day of the July London bombings
In Iraq yesterday people were effectively asked to do just this. Terrorism, suicide bombings and a lack of security and basic services is the daily reality in Iraq. Yet amid this carnage Iraqis are being asked to vote almost blind on the future of the country.
A majority of the population has not been properly informed about the proposed constitution and in some areas haven't even heard of it. At a time when the whole country is under armed occupation and Islamic terrorism is widespread, how can people make an informed decision on their country's destiny?
The entire population is living in fear. Islamist militias are using the occupation to justify their terrorist acts and vicious crimes. They are veiling women, in some cases beheading them, and are generally policing new hard line Islamic rules.
In the town of Haditha, two hour's drive from Baghdad, Islamic militias have hanged people in public. Young people have been humiliated and women - in particular - have been terrorised.
This is all going on with the Iraqi police apparently powerless to enforce law and order and bring about even basic security. Post-Abu Ghraib, US and allied soldiers are still humiliating Iraqis. Amnesty International has documented cases of families being mistreated by US and Iraqi National Guards during arrest, including a businesswoman arrested earlier this year subjected to a blindfold beating, theft of her jewellery and then detention without charge.
Abuses by occupation forces and bombing outrages by rival sectarian groups in Iraq only make a further mockery of the constitution's legitimacy. The constitution has been prepared by hand-picked people in the constitution writing committee. Its real architects have been the political Islamists taking their lead from Sharia law.
The Iraqi parliament is intent on imposing a constitution on Iraq's people regardless of whether it will entrench misogyny and a systematic Islamisation of Iraqi society.
The constitution is a sham. It will lead to less - not more - freedom in Iraq and should be rejected and condemned by all.
UK head of the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq
Cofounder of Iraq Freedom Congress