Monday, April 2, 2012

Drafting Egypt's Constitution

Dear Readers

I apologize for my absence, I have been attending to urgent family matters, and have not had time to write enough.

But I am back, and recommitted, Ilhamdillulah!

So, what is new? As is usual there is a lot going on in Egypt these days. My biggest worry regarding democracy is secularism and the constitution. According to an article on NPR by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Unease Grows Over Islamist Political Agenda in Egypt, Parliament has handpicked a 100 member panel that has begun meeting to write a new Egyptian constitution. 

The worry is where this leaves Christians, Bahai and other religious minorities. Is there room to be secular in Egypt? According to that article, as many of two-thirds of the panel members are Islamist or allies. "Only a handful of women and Christians were selected to take part." Several secular panelists have since quit the constitutional panel in protest.

On March 23rd, hundreds protested against the formation of a constitution writing assembly, Protesters reject formation of constitution-writing assembly. Egypt Independent. Protesters rallied in front of the High Court of Justice to demand that the SCAF relinquish power to a civilian government. They also protested against the composition of the group who will draft Egypt's constitution. As of now, MPs will constitute half of that group's membership. The other half are to be composed of experts from other fields.

On March 24th, parliament members from the Free Egyptians Party, the Revolution Continues Coalition, and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party pulled out of talks regarding the composition of the constitutional drafting committee. Adl Party and Karama party representatives walked out of the session as well. The dissenters accused the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the far right Islamist Nour party of dominating the Constitutional committee.

~WMB

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