Islamist-Led Assembly Votes on Egypt Constitution

Religion Today

Islamist-Led Assembly Votes on Egypt Constitution


The Islamist-dominated assembly drafting Egypt's new constitution began a fast-track vote on a final draft Thursday, pushing through the document despite opposition, reports Yahoo! News. The issue of the role of sharia (Islamic law) in the constitution had been the subject of a long dispute between hardline Islamists and liberals in the assembly, and the draft largely reflects the ultra-conservative vision of the Islamists, with articles that many fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities and civil liberties in general. Under sharia, non-Muslims and Muslim women face discrimination, and those who dishonor Islam can face "honor killings" by family members. Sharia also allows for women to be stoned to death for adultery, even if the woman is the victim of rape. As in past constitutions, the new draft says "principles of sharia" will be the main source of legislation, but a new article states that Egypt's most-respected Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, must be consulted on any matters related to sharia -- a measure critics fear will lead to oversight of legislation by Muslim clerics. Another article seeks to define "principles" of sharia -- a term long left intentionally vague -- which could vastly expand the reach of sharia in influencing society. Morsi is expected to call for a referendum on the draft as early as mid-December.

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