“Egypt Judiciary Suspends Islamist-led Constitution Panel,” from AFP, April 10:
CAIRO (AFP) — An Egyptian court suspended on Tuesday the Islamist-dominated commission tasked with drafting a new constitution amid a boycott by liberals, moderate Muslims and the Coptic church.
The administrative court in Cairo said it was “suspending the constituent assembly” without explaining the reasons, but lawyers and liberal political parties had filed a complaint accusing the Islamist-majority parliament, which formed the panel, of having abused its powers.…
The 100-member panel, which is evenly divided between parliamentarians and public figures, was elected by the parliament, which also voted for a number of reserve candidates who could replace the panelists.
But most of its members are from the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist fundamentalists who hold the majority in both houses of parliament.
The head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Mohammed Mursi, said the FJP would not appeal Tuesday’s decision.
“The Freedom and Justice Party fully respects the decisions of the Egyptian judiciary, including the decision by the administrative court to suspend the constituent assembly,” Mursi said in a statement.
He said the FJP was ready to cooperate with all parties and groups in drafting a charter “that reflects all Egyptians.”
The secular parties had already withdrawn from the commission, believing that their presence was only used as a smoke screen allowing the Islamists to draft a basic law that reflects their political-religious ideologies.
The prestigious Sunni Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt have also decided to boycott the panel.
Islamists believe the commission should reflect the composition of a parliament where the FJP holds nearly half the seats and the Salafist Al-Nur party almost one quarter.
The secularists want a more balanced commission, fearing that the Islamist grip would lead to the strengthening of a demand for Islamic sharia law to be the point of reference for legislation.
On Tuesday, around 150 people demonstrated outside the State Council, which has the power to rule on administrative disputes, to protest against Islamist control of the constitutional project.
One banner proclaimed: “The constitution is not a matter of majorities. Egypt will remain a civil state.”…
Good luck with that.