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EGYPT/ Farouq: Morsi’s new decrees and Article 219 take us back to the Middle Ages

November Fri 30, 2012

(Infophoto)  (Infophoto)

In a hall abandoned by the majority of Christians and liberal representatives, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis approved the final draft of the Egyptian Constitution. This triggered the protests throughout the country, since, according to the revolutionary forces, the President of the Republic, Mohamed Morsi, is seeking to establish a new dictatorship. Ilsussidiario.net interviewed Wael Farouq, Professor at the American University in Cairo and Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Milan.

Professor Farouq, what is at stake with the final draft of the Constitution being approved yesterday?
During the debate that led to the development of the new draft of the Constitution, the Freedom and Justice Party explained that they wished to integrate Article 2 of the Constitution of 1971, which states that “Islamic principles are the main source of legislation”, with Article 219, which refers to “the verdicts of the law” ("The principles of Sharia include general evidence and foundations, rules and jurisprudence as well as sources accepted by doctrines of Sunni Islam and the majority of Muslim scholars."). In such a sensitive issue, each word weighs as much as a stone, and now the final draft must be studied in its entirety. If what emerged during the debate was confirmed, it would be a disastrous step backward.

Why is that?
All the interpretations of Islamic law that have accumulated over the centuries from the Middle Ages to the present day become binding. The new text of the Constitution, therefore, is not limited to being inspired by the Koran, but changes the thoughts of jurists who lived more than a thousand years ago into binding laws. This is totally unacceptable in 2012, also because it has nothing to do with authentic Islam but with the circumstances and situations of Arab society in the Middle Ages. During the debate, it also came out that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted the Islamic university of Al-Azhar to be the only authority that can decide the mode of application of Sharia. This would be very similar to the Guardian Council of the Constitution that exists in Iran, which decides what laws are compatible with religion. I do not know all the details of the final draft of the Constitution, but I followed the debate that led to its approval and the different versions presented during the proceedings of the Assembly were shameful. 

What are the intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood?
They aim to overturn the democratic process that brought them to power. Ten members of the Constituent Assembly declared overtly that democracy is in contradiction with Islamic values??, and that they intend simply to take advantage of it to stay in power. After the decrees issued by Morsi last week, which are unconstitutional and illegal, we have seen clearly that the Islamists are not going to adopt democracy. As soon as the Egyptian people realized this, they began a revolution even more impressive than the one that overthrew Mubarak.

What is the goal of those who protest?



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