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Egyptian Church Threatens to Withdraw From Constituent Assembly Over Sharia Article

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.aina.org/news/20120705192519.htm Egyptian Church Threatens to Withdraw From Constituent Assembly Over Sharia Article Posted GMT 7-6-2012 The Coptic
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2012
      http://www.aina.org/news/20120705192519.htm

      Egyptian Church Threatens to Withdraw From Constituent Assembly Over
      Sharia Article
      Posted GMT 7-6-2012

      The Coptic Orthodox Church threatened to withdraw its Constituent
      Assembly representatives Wednesday over concerns the new constitution
      will not represent minorities.

      Church leaders discussed the potential withdrawal Wednesday in an
      all-day meeting, according to Bishop Benjamin of Monufiya. At the heart
      of the discussion was ongoing debate within the assembly over whether
      Article 2 of the 1971 Constitution should be changed.

      Some conservative Islamists have advocated that language stipulating
      "the principles of Sharia," as the primary source of legislation be
      changed to "the commandments of Sharia," which could allow for a more
      literal application of Islamic law.

      Coptic leaders want the original language preserved with an additional
      clause allowing non-Muslims to follow their own religious laws in
      personal affairs, the appointment of religious leaders and religious
      rituals, Benjamin said during a press conference following the Wednesday
      meeting.

      The Church adheres to rights and freedoms enshrined in previous
      constitutions as well as in international agreements signed by Egypt,
      including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said. It also
      supports a modern, constitutional state based on citizenship, human
      rights and non-discrimination on the basis of belief or opinion.

      "The Church is concerned over the vote ratios included in the
      regulations of the Constituent Assembly, which would make the point of
      view of one class supersede the view of the rest of people. We reject
      discrimination on the basis of gender, origin or language, and the
      church is keen that everyone enjoys the same rights and duties," a
      statement read, alluding to the Islamist domination of the assembly.

      Earlier this week, the Salafi-led Nour Party rejected describing the
      state as "civil" in the new constitution and insisted that the basis for
      legislation should be "Sharia" rather than "the principles of Sharia."

      Party leaders claimed Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with
      prominent Brotherhood and FJP figures over Article 2 before the
      presidential runoff and accused them of backtracking on their promise.

      www.egyptindependent.com
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