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Egypt cuts Christians, liberals out of constitution

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 30th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More disturbing developments in Egypt today as that country's Islamists hurriedly approved a draft constitution in a manner that systematically cut out Christians and liberals from the process. The panel rushed to approve their draft before a Supreme Court ruling could dissolve their assembly.

CAIRO, EGYPT (Catholic Online) - Rights activists and analysts are concerned that the new constitution, if approved, would give clerics a say over legislation as well as restrict freedom of speech, women's rights, and other freedoms. The constitution then, moves Egypt closer to theocracy.

Morsi has stirred protest by recently decreeing that is decisions would be beyond judicial review. Egyptians have been protesting this development because they fear Morsi could install himself as a dictator.

However, Morsi has promised that he would abandon that decree once a new constitution was accepted.

The assembly responsible for drafting the constitution passed the draft version in a rushed 16-hour session that included four women, all Islamists themselves, and no Christians despite Egypt's substantial Christian population. The 85-member assembly has been described by many as "very conservative."

For weeks prior, Christians and liberals have been resigning from the assembly in protest over what they say has been systematic discrimination. Conversely, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the dominant political party in Egypt, is hailing the draft as representative.

The vote on the draft constitution was not set to occur for another two months, however the secular and traditionally liberal Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court was poised to dissolve the assembly before that time. By passing the draft to the people for referendum, the assembly has pre-empted the court.

The end result is that Egypt is becoming bitterly divided, and the steps that are being taken are not towards reconciliation, but rather towards further discord. With Islamists making the majority of the national population, it is likely that their agenda will be promoted at the expense of all others, setting the framework for discord in what should have been a fledgling example of democracy for the world to see.

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