Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi's recent power grab effectively eliminated judicial oversight over executive decision making, causing mass protests throughout the county.
But the draft constitution rushed through an Egyptian assembly dominated by Islamists, and scheduled to go before voters Dec. 15, contains a host of provisions which inhibit minority rights and the free exercise of religion, writes Hudson Institute Research Fellow Samuel Tadros.
Among the provisions Tadros highlights as causing concern:
· The addition of an anti-blasphemy clause. This isn't that surprising, given a recent Egyptian court's order sentencing seven people to death in absentia for allegedly insulting Islam and its prophet.
· Changes in defining "citizenship." Previously, it referred to equal rights for both Muslims and non-Muslims. The new provision adds a further allegiance to the Islamic nation.
· Removing words "on the basis of sex, origin, religion, and creed" from a provision prohibiting discrimination.
· Bestowing power to resolve issues of Sharia law upon al-Azhar University in apparent dominance over lawmakers.
· Adding the word "shura" in reference to the political system, a term associated with an unelected, Islamist consultative process which is absurdly compared to democracy. Purely religious parties, according to this Article, can be now be established; a provision that was previously banned.
· Dropping language forbidding forced evacuations within Egypt. Coptic Christians have been forced to leave in four difference cases since the start of the popular uprising in 2011.
Tadros lists plenty of additional troubling examples. The Islamist dominated constitutional draft provides a significant setback for religious freedom and infringes on the rights and protections previously granted to Egypt's minorities. Read his full article here.