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Op-Ed: Egyptian Democracy? Morsi's New Constitution Remains

Egypt needs a secular constitution with democratic freedoms. This should happen as soon as possible, but the opposite is quietly taking place.
Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 6:09 AM


Adly Mansour, Egypt’s Interim President, has chosen to begin Egypt’s conversion to democracy by reinstating and modifying ousted President Morsi’s controversial 2012 Islamic Shariah constitution. Finalized just five months ago and widely rejected by Egyptians (more than 70 percent), but somehow 'approved' through a referendum 'vote', this dream-come-true for Islamists was the leading cause of Morsi’s overthrow.

A historic verdict by Egypt’s judiciary dismissed the constitutional assembly working on the 2012 constitution draft because the assembly was dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi mainly interested in a religious agenda.

This time around, there is no debate that Egypt must have a new constitution before elections are held. This is a good sign. However, using Morsi’s constitution indicates that religionists and possibly terrorists are already at the table. Compromises at this level to please Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, and jihadists show a disregard of the commitment to honor the Egyptian goals of liberty, equality, and human rights.

Building on a foundation of religious bias, sex discrimination and denigration of human rights is a rejection of liberty and equality and obstructs democracy

The 2012 constitution is based upon the supremacy of Egypt’s majority religion and its penetrating influence of the daily life and livelihood of citizens. Religious mandates by clerics turned into civil law and enforced by the police negate freedom and individual rights, the basic precepts of democracy. So why start with Morsi’s constitution?

Repeating SCAF’s mistake


Please do not burden us, Mr. Mansour, with any wasteful pursuits brought about by illusionary compromises with political-religious Islamist factions.
The miraculous second chance Egypt has now to 'do it right' means that leaders right now must abstain from doing what SCAF did after the overthrow of Mubarak. SCAF listened to Islamist factions; some, like the Muslim Brotherhood, covering up their real views with democratic slogans, and some, like Salafi, directing anti-democratic religionist concepts to become part of the democratic process.

Please do not burden us, Mr. Mansour, with any wasteful pursuits brought about by illusionary compromises with political-religious Islamist factions. This particular task is above religious politics.

Egyptians have suffered immeasurably to create this path for democracy in Egypt. Egyptian citizens are not power-seekers like those who seek to adulterate freedom’s first principles in the construction of a democratic constitution.

It is best for no faiths to take part -- no religious representatives in Egypt’s new constitutional assembly, for a fresh start

Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour would be wise to start from scratch the process of writing a democratic constitution. bringing together pro-democracy Tamarud representatives and others interested in realizing the objectives of their freedom-seeking goals without adverse influences. The religious in Egypt will be equally free to worship once a secular constitution with democratic freedoms is put in place. This should happen as soon as possible.   

Another option: Egypt’s 1923 constitution as basis for Egypt’s new constitution  

Any Egyptian constitution prior to Sadat’s 1971 constitution would be better suited for building upon because,in the earlier constitutions, Shariah law has no mention or reference. Modern Egypt was built on a foundation of separation of religion and state until Islam began to seek political status through developed doctrine rooted in its origins and projected by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s 1923 constitution, in particular, stresses Egyptian human rights and freedoms.

The people call for Mr. Mansour’s immediate intervention to halt of the use of Morsi’s 2012 religious constitution. The Voice of the Copts joins this call.

Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour must carry out the responsibility invested in him by the people to oversee production of the democratic framework for a modern Egyptian state. He must not allow any serious lapse in this regard.

Meanwhile, freedom protesters in Egypt must stand their ground, increase their voice, and continue to rally. With firm action, let them uphold the right to a new constitution that will achieve the dream of a democratic state.

Attention democratic governments: leaders and citizens

Through social networks, Egyptian freedom seekers have reached out to the world during months of peaceful protests (on their part), keeping us informed of their battle against tyranny.

We urge democratic governments and citizens and leaders around the world to embrace the Egyptian freedom movement and their unwavering dedication to democratic reform as we observe their progress day by day.