Conservative Egyptians Call for “More Religious” Constitution
Thousands of Egyptian conservatives and Salafis assembled in Tahrir Square on November 9 to call for the inclusion of more religious language in the constitution. ”Sharia is our constitution,” and, “The people demand the application of God’s law,” protesters chanted. Conservatives have pushed to change the wording of the constitution’s second amendment to guarantee that the “principles of Sharia” be the basis of legislation. In an effort to appease the Islamists, the constitutional assembly has discussed adding an article which specifically lays out the principles of Sharia law. ”People are scared of the application of Sharia, but I am telling Muslims and Christians and everyone that Islam is a mercy on all of us because it is based on the Quran’s rules,” protester Gaber Mohammed said.
The protests followed another week of non-consensus in the Constitutional Assembly. Members of the assembly continue to remain at odds over vast portions of the constitution including laws overseeing the political, military and judicial sectors of government. Secularists have alleged that the Islamists are using their majority to impose their ideology on the final draft, and some have threatened to withdraw from the assembly altogether. Despite the range of disputes, members of the Islamist camp have hinted that a final draft would be submitted within the next two weeks. Assembly chairman Hossam el-Ghiryani conceded that ”time is running out and we should begin an article-by-article discussion of the final draft of the constitution next Sunday.”
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Amr Roshdi announced that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Egypt on November 17. Erdogan will be accompanied by 12 Turkish ministers in what the spokesman described as ”the largest in the history of diplomatic relations between the two countries.”