Guest / Limited Access /
What Egypt's Christians Think of Hastily Completed Constitution
Image: Maya Alleruzzo / AP
What Egypt's Christians Think of Hastily Completed Constitution

Addressing the nation in a televised interview Thursday, President Mohamed Morsi welcomed the sudden completionof Egypt's draft constitution after months of gridlock.

Amid public outcry against his decision last week to grant himself immunity from judicial review, Morsi praised the constitution's speedy completion as a necessary step in order to end the nation's transition to democracy and reestablish separate executive, legislative, and judicial authority.

He also dismissed questions about the legitimacy of the document, especially given the withdrawal of Christian and many liberal members of the assembly drafting it.

"The withdrawal of the church from the constitutional assembly is nothing to worry about," Morsi said. "It's important to me that they be part of it, but not to worry."

"We did not mean to stop everything by withdrawing," said Safwat el-Baiady, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt and a former member of the constitutional assembly. "Only to show our distaste."

While most articles in the constitution suffered little controversy, the Islamist-dominated assembly limited or qualified previously guaranteed personal freedoms. It also tinged the document with a religious flavor, assuring law and liberty are compliant with shari'ah. (A summary of the new religion-related articles can be found here.)

Baiady has no objection to preserving the controversial Article 2—which establishes the principles of shari'ah as the main source of Egyptian legislation. (In the past, the Supreme Constitutional Court has acted as arbiter to interpret these principles very broadly.) Yet a new addition (Article 219) specifically defines shari'ah ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Strange Encouragement of the Church’s Appalling History
Subscriber Access Only The Strange Encouragement of the Church’s Appalling History
The lives of our greatest heroes often undermined the gospel they so eloquently preached.
RecommendedCompassion: Why We’re Leaving India, But Still Have Hope
Compassion: Why We’re Leaving India, But Still Have Hope
‘Frustrated’ CEO explains how shutdown of 589 centers serving 145,000 children will affect staff, sponsors, and churches.
TrendingThe Real St. Patrick
The Real St. Patrick
A look at the famous saint, and his strategic missions.
Editor's PickThey Will Know We Are Christians by Our Drinks
They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Drinks
In the Muslim world, Christians have a complicated relationship with alcohol.
Christianity Today
What Egypt's Christians Think of Hastily Completed Constitution
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.