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Egypt's Constitution Draft Based on Islam

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government is suggesting that the country’s new constitution be based on the principles of Islam.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/13/2012, 5:46 AM

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
AFP/File

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government is suggesting that the country’s new constitution be based on the principles of Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s website published on Monday the draft of the new constitution, which was put together by a special committee numbering 100 members, the majority of which are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist parties.

According to the draft, translated by Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi, the main clauses in the new constitution are:

“[Sunni] Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic is the official language and the principles of Islamic law are the main source for legislation.”

"The principles of the religion of the Christians and the Jews are the main source of legislation for the personal and religious affairs and for the purpose of choosing their spiritual leaders."

"The Al-Azhar (considered the highest authority in Sunni Islam) is an independent Islamic institution ... whose purpose is to spread the message of Islam and religion. All residents are equal before the law ... there shall not be discrimination because of sex, origin, language, religion, belief, opinion, social status or disability. The state ensures the freedom of religious worship of monotheistic religions in accordance with the law.”

The draft also notes that "freedom of opinion is guaranteed, and should not hurt the Prophet of Prophets."

On Friday, more than 10,000 ultraconservative Muslims demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, demanding that Egypt's new constitution be based on the rulings of Islamic Sharia law.

The rally was organized by a number of minority Salafi groups, but neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the main Salafist Al-Nour party backed the protest.

Demonstrators demanded that the panel tasked with writing the new constitution override liberal and secular objections and include language that could allow religious scholars to influence legislation.

During his election campaign, Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi reiterated his commitment to jihad and to the Islamic Sharia law.

“The Koran was and will continue to be our constitution,” the Muslim Brotherhood candidate said in a speech broadcast on Egyptian television. “The Koran is our constitution. The prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”

Morsi also said, “This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic Sharia. I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text (of the constitution), Allah willing, the text will truly reflect (the Sharia).”