Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Will Egypt's New Constitution Take the Country Backwards?

".......Under particularly intense negotiation—and media scrutiny—are several key provisions in the constitution that will define the role of religion in the state. The constituent assembly is dominated by Islamists, largely from the Muslim Brotherhood and the main Salafi political party. The Salafis have long advocated revising Egypt’s constitution to make clear that Sharia law itself—rather than the “principles” of Sharia, as the constitution has read in the past—is the main source of all legislation. Facing widespread opposition to this change, which would allow for a stricter interpretation of Islamic law, many Salafi members are pushing for an additional provision granting Al-Azhar—Egypt’s premier Islamic institution—the final say in determining whether laws conform to the principles of Sharia. This would essentially make it the final arbiter on legislation, giving Supreme Court style powers to an unelected, unaccountable religious body. With a small voting bloc in the constituent assembly, some liberal members have threatened a mass walkout over provisions they consider non-negotiable if the civil nature of the state is to be preserved........."

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