Egypt Constitution: Too Strict or Too Permissive?
Islamic law will be part of the new Egypt. The question is, how strict will it be?
Portions of the draft constitution revealed in recent days have caused worry among women and religious minorities that the text may restrict their rights and behavior. Yet Egyptians who desire adherence to the seventh-century laws of the Muslim prophet Mohammed are not pleased.
Liberals say the revolution is being hijacked, and debate on the document in the media and the streets is growing increasingly tense.
“Sharia is a style of life - an Islamic style of life,” said Amina Wasfy, a pathologist from Heliopolis who stood among a bevy of women in face veils and flowing robes in Tahrir Square on Friday. “We want sharia to be strict in the new constitution.”
A 100-member committee continues to craft the document, hoping to have it finished before the end of the year. It then is to be put to a public referendum.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which dominated parliamentary elections that followed the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, supports language that bases the constitution on the principles of Islam. Salafists, who believe in a Muslim theocracy, say the main function of a new Egyptian government should be to interpret Islamic law, known as sharia, and enforce it upon the nation.