According to Article 2 of the existing constitution, which is not likely to budge from the next one, Islam is the religion of state, Arabic the official language, and Sharia the basis for legislation, so the improvised addition to the oath is somewhat redundant. Still, some form of Islamic supremacist touchdown dance was probably inevitable. “Egypt Islamist MP scolded for religious reference,” from Agence France-Presse, January 23:
A newly elected Islamist deputy was scolded on Monday for adding a religious reference to the swearing-in oath at the opening session of Egypt’s first post-revolution parliament.
The deputies started to be sworn in one by one, pledging to “preserve the safety of the nation and the interests of people and to respect the constitution and the law.”
But when ultra conservative lawyer Mamduh Ismail took the microphone vowing to also “abide by the law of God”, he was sharply told off by the chair Mahmud al-Saqqa — the most senior member of parliament.
“Please stick to the text,” an angry Saqqa urged Ismail, asking him to repeat the oath several times.
“Mr Ismail, my friend, please stand up and read the oath, and stick to the text,” Saqqa pleaded.
Ismail finally agreed, read the oath and then insisted on adding, “and to abide by the law of God.”
Egypt’s lower house of parliament was holding its first session since a popular uprising ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak and propelled Islamists to the centre stage of politics.