Egypt’s Prime Minister announced that the country’s new constitution will be drafted by the end of September, The Associated Press reports. There is grave concern that Islamic Sharia law will become of the sole source of Egypt’s legislation, meaning that religious freedoms of Christians and other minorities will significantly decline. Already, the Constituent Assembly—a 100 member body appointed by parliament to draft the document—has proposed that the ‘principles’ of Islam become the highest law in the country. Religious minorities continue to wonder what rights they will have in Egypt’s future.
8/26/2012 Egypt (Associated Press) – Egypt will have a new constitution drafted by the end of September and ready to be submitted to a nationwide referendum, the country’s prime minister said Saturday.
Hisham Kandil did not specify a date for the referendum, though, according to Egypt’s MENA state news agency.
The drafting of a new constitution has been a highly divisive issue in Egypt since last year’s uprising that ousted longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak. The new charter is expected to define limits on the president’s powers and the role of Islamic law.
Liberals walked out twice from the panel tasked with writing the constitution in the past, complaining that the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful political group, was trying to monopolize its drafting.
The panel was appointed by members of the Brotherhood-led parliament. After the legislature was dissolved, the country’s military generals gave themselves the right to oversee the drafting process. However, in a bold political move, President Mohammed Morsi, who is a member of the Brotherhood, forced the top generals into early retirement this month and seized back control of the constitution writing process.
Morsi has said that if the 100-member panel currently drafting the document does not finish its work for whatever reason, he will appoint a new one within 15 days and give it three weeks to finish its work. The draft will then be put to a vote in a national referendum within 30 days.