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Moussa fails to patch up constitution split over Islamic identity: source
in 13-10-26
Egypt Independent

Mediation efforts by Amr Moussa, chairman of Egypt's constitution-drafting committee, have failed to resolve disagreements among members concerning Egypt's identity as an Islamic state, London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported.

The split is largely between Al-Azhar and Nour Party representatives on the one hand, and the Egyptian Orthodox Church on the other, with the two sides disagreeing on interpretations that Islamic Sharia should form the main source of legislation in Egypt's draft constitution.

A committee member, who declined to give his name due to the sensitivity of his post on the panel, told the newspaper that Moussa met Thursday with representatives of the three bodies to discuss disagreements, but that no resolution was achieved.

The source said differences still exist over the second and third articles relating to Islamic Sharia and non-Muslims' religious references. The disagreements also extend to Article 219 of the suspended constitution, which provide interpretation to the second article.

Article 2 states:"Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation."

Article 219 stipulates that: "The principles of Islamic Sharia include general evidence, foundational rules, rules of jurisprudence, and credible sources accepted in Sunni doctrines and by the larger community."

"Church representatives rejected any interpretation of the second article," the source revealed, adding that its members suggested removing the part on Sunni doctrines.

The source said that Nour Party representatives insist on maintaining Article 219 to provide explanation for the word "principles" in the second article.

Al-Azhar members have meanwhile persisted with their call to keep the second article as it is in order to "defend Egypt's Islamic identity."

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