The Egyptian constitution

December 27th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has signed into law a new constitution shaped by his Islamist allies, a bitterly contested document which he insists will help end political turmoil and allow him to focus on fixing the economy.

Anxiety about a deepening political and economic crisis has gripped in past weeks, with many people rushing to buy dollars and withdraw their savings from banks.

The Egyptian pound has tumbled to its weakest level against the US currency in almost eight years.

The new constitution, which the liberal opposition says betrays Egypt’s 2011 revolution by dangerously mixing religion and politics, has polarised the Arab world’s most populous nation and prompted occasionally violent protest on the streets.

The presidency said Mursi had formally approved the constitution the previous evening, shortly after results showed that Egyptians had backed it in a referendum.

The text won about 64 percent of the vote, paving the way for a new parliamentary election in about two months.

The charter states that the principles of sharia, Islamic law, are the main source of legislation and that Islamic authorities will be consulted on sharia – a source of concern to the Christian minority and others.

Countries that don’t separate religion and state almost always are worse places to live  than those countries which do.

Egyptians have the right to a democracy. All human beings have that right. but I hope the majority appreciate that there are other rights beyond having a vote.

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32 Responses to “The Egyptian constitution”

  1. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    It’s simply an outcome of identity politics – using Islam as a tool for popular political organisation. While formerly banned they got around this by being a charitable group. Now they have the advantage over political rivals – the leadership and members of parliament of the Mubarak formed party themselves being banned for 10 years from political activity.

    The opposition need to find an organising principle of their own.

    1. An Egypt for all Egyptians – regardless of religious difference.
    2. Constitutional reform to ensure human rights security for all.
    3. A basic civic law for all, so that those not Moslem, Christian or Jewish have access to civic marriages for example (or where there is inter-marriage).

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  2. nasska (10,867 comments) says:

    SPC

    But we all know that they won’t…..within a couple of years Egypt will complete its transformation into a backward, theocratic shithole dominated by religious headcases similar to the rest of the ME.

    The clock will turn back 1400 years & Allah will be happy.

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  3. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    The same shit is happening in Syria, and the West is right behind it. Arab spring my arse.

    http://rt.com/news/syria-people-home-rima-831/

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  4. nasska (10,867 comments) says:

    Kea

    The entire “Arab spring” phenomenon is being driven by the West, in particular the USA. Another five years will IMHO see the entire ME destitute yet united under the umbrella of Islam & hellbent on the destruction of the “Great Satan” or whatever they’re calling the West then.

    Reid has opined that the rationale behind the sacrificing of moderate Islamic countries is to deny their oil to China yet Egypt for example has no oil reserves. At the same time the USA is assisting African nations to resist Muslim advances.

    What do you see as the reasoning behind this mess that is being created in front of our own eyes?

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  5. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    I find it hard to see this lasting, the influential urban populations that drove Mubarak out do not want it. Conflict seems likely.

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  6. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nasska, I have no idea what Obama is up to. He is a very dangerous man.

    It is incredible to think that Obama has launched military strikes against countries fighting off radical Islamic groups, who were out to over throw the government and install Sharia law. All this while he occupies countries all over the Middle east, (with plans to occupy 35 more countries next year) claiming he is fighting radical Islam.

    He is full of shit.

    http://rt.com/usa/news/us-deploying-troops-order-749/

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  7. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    More the outcome of the election of a US President who has less strategic foresight than my left gumboot.

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  8. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    Britain and us don’t separate religion from politics and a re relatively great places to live.

    It’s not religion that’s at fault it’s Islam,which is more than a religion in the sense we understand it.

    The so called Arab Spring was always a lie anyway.

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  9. thor42 (970 comments) says:

    “The text won about 64 percent of the vote.”

    Yeah, and probably 50% of the votes were fake pro-sharia ones.
    Democracy is unIslamic. It is simply one tool of many that can be used to bring in sharia law.

    Anyway, maybe the Egyptians will eventually learn (in about 500 years time) that sharia is bloody awful.

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  10. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    The region is complicated.

    1. The West simply wants democratic regime change (which it sees as reducing Al Qaeda extremism and boosting moderates) and oil flowing into the world economy.

    2. This opens the door to Moslem identity chauvinism in national politics (in place of secular socialist regimes of the Baath Party type). This is of some risk to non Moslems (or non Arabs, such as the Kurds).

    3. The Arab Moslem world is divided between Shia beholden to Persian pretensions to regional leadership (now expanded on by providing aid to Hamas a Sunni group as part of the offer to lead Moslems against Israel) and Sunni.

    4. The Gulf states can play up the regional divisions – Sunni vs Shia to distract attention from their own autocracy. They have led the Syrian regime change, not the West.

    5. The regional media (Gulf based) is allowed to focus on the wider ME Arab spring to the neglect of the Gulf.

    6. The West wants stability in the oil nations – Libya, Iraq (post regime change) and the Gulf (pre regime change).

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  11. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Kea, the drone attacks are against Al Qaeda or related groups. They often occur with the governments permission (one exception is Pakistan). Their efficacy is doubted because civilian casualties assist in both building anti-American sentiment and boosting credibility for the Islamist groups as patriotic nationalists.

    The military spread is to assist domestic capability to resist Islamist militant threat. The same issues apply as with drone use.

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  12. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    They chose Morsi, they deserve every bit of him.

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  13. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    thor42, it’s 64% backing the proposed constitution of a 30% turnout. Thus about 20% of the people provided the mandate.

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  14. Warren Murray (289 comments) says:

    “The principles of sharia…law are the main source of legislation and Islamic authorities will be consulted on sharia”, made me think of the Treaty of Waitangi, both as it influences legislation and administration in NZ. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar in a NZ constitution.

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  15. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    SPC, thanks for your press release, but actions speak louder than words.

    Obama has no business in those places. They are not enemies of the US. Your bit about Al Qaeda is nonsense. You are more likely to find important Al Qaeda operatives in London or Saudi Arabia, both US allies.

    I invite you to stop repeating the “official line” and have a look at what is really happening under your nose. Obama is a war monger and is out of control. It is well past time he was subject to the same level of scrutiny as Bush, before he starts a world war.

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  16. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Warren Murray, Sharia law is simple. They believe God is the ultimate authority and therefore all laws should be consistent with Gods teachings. That is every thing from marriage to buying a car. All aspects of life are included with no separation between church and state. If I were a theist, that approach would make sense.

    Obama has no problems with oppressive Sharia law, as evidenced by his close relationship with Saudi Arabia, home of Bin Laden and major financier of radical Mosques around the world. The Central Asian country of Afghanistan was invaded to punish Saudi Arabia. Obama has people like SPC, believing dirt poor Goat herders are the biggest threat to the US and are taking over the world.

    It is not a complex situation. It is very simple. Simply wrong.

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  17. tvb (4,240 comments) says:

    We have not separated religion and Louis with the Queen as our Head of State and Head of the Anglican Church. And we have a christian prayer in Parliament and much else. So let us allow the Egyptians evolve their relationship of religion and state

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  18. cha (3,842 comments) says:

    Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, aka Mahmoud Salem, writes: The Powers That Be

    He concludes:

    The MB Constitution has passed, thanks to massive fraud and a deeply sectarian campaign on the hands of the MB controlled Government. The Yes votes are 64% , the No votes are 36% and the voter turnout was 32% of all eligible voters. Out of every 100 Egyptians, 20 have said yes, 12 have said no, and 68 didn’t even bother to go and vote.

    Mohamed was one of those 68% that didn’t go vote. He is a government employee by day, and a Taxi driver by night, who spends every waking minute of his day trying to provide for his wife, 3 children and sick mother. Mohamed didn’t vote. Mohamed didn’t vote because he didn’t think it mattered, and that no matter what he chooses the outcome will be Yes anyway. Mohamed didn’t vote, because like all of his friends and neighbors, he has become disgusted with the tug of war between the secularists and the Islamists, and how all they care about is power, even if it means pulling the country into a civil war. Mohamed didn’t vote because he knows that neither side cares about him or his family, despite what they always say in their speeches, before and after the revolution. Mohamed didn’t vote because all the hope he had at the beginning of the revolution was gone, replaced with bitterness and anger, and he would rather spend the time scouring the streets of Cairo for a fare that might help him cover his ever increasing expenses. What good is a constitution to a bunch of hungry mouths anyway?

    Mohamed hated the revolution. Mohamed hated that his neighborhood became infested with crime and thugs, and that the whole city soon followed. Mohamed hated the absence of the police unless they wanted a bribe, a practice that has increased after a revolution that claimed that it will stop it. Mohamed hated the state of Chaos the country has been in for the past two years, and the hours he wasted in traffic caused by marches and sit ins and clashes that don’t seem to ever stop. Mohamed hated that there are no tourists anymore, and that when he gets a foreign customer it’s usually a Syrian refugee who hassles him over the fare, unlike the days when the Americans and the Gulfie tourists used to populate the city and pay him generously for taking them around. Mohamed hated that they were gone, and has lost hope that they will ever come back.

    Mohamed barely meets his expenses, and has no idea how he survived those past two years. Mohamed panicked when he heard that the prices of goods were going up, only to relax hours later when he was informed that the government cancelled the increase. Had those prices increased, Mohamed would be completely unable to feed his family, and what kind of a man would that make him?

    Mohamed is scared, bitter, angry, hungry and tired. He knows one thing for certain: if things get any worse financially, he will lose it. He will take the gun he bought two years ago, and kill the Islamists, the secularists, and all of those people who have the luxury to fight over stupid shit on his and his family’s expense.
    Mohamed will show them the exact amount of consideration and mercy they have showed him, which is none.
    Mohamed will have his Justice, and he is not the only one.

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  19. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Where is Pete George who’s a die hard supporter of the majority rule? This is the problem with the majority rule. A 51% of the voters can violate the rights of the 49% of the rest. But Peter George is a master of weasel. He’ll turn up here to argue his nonsensical points.

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  20. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    cha, sounds like sandymonkey really wants the military to appoint Mubarak’s son as President.

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  21. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    kea, why do you use the Russia Today site? Is it the place to find criticism of American foreign policy when a Democrat is President?

    Obama has as much business placing American forces in those countries as he does sending them here to exercise with us. They do so with local government permission.

    You seem very confused – on the one hand citing American links to Saudi Arabia while claiming that the American presence in Afghanistan was to punish Sauid Arabia. Dah no, it arose out of the decision to depose the Taleban for hosting Al Qaeda.

    Obama in offering assistance to countries that have local Islamist militants linked to Al Qaeda is simply trying to prevent Al Qaeda from being hosted in other countries.

    The problem is not dirt poor goat herders, it is people who place bombs to terrorise populations into obedient compliance as they attack the rest of humanity until the society is subjugated. It’s easy to simply ignore this is those involved were not also inclined to

    1. support Islamic revolution elsewhere and send fighters to get involved
    2. launch terrorist attacks around the rest of the world

    The real question is whether a military presence on the ground and drone attacks are the best response (local civilian casualties can cause resentment etc).

    e like SPC, believing dirt poor Goat herders are the biggest threat to the US and are taking over the world.

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  22. Azeraph (603 comments) says:

    I don’t want to see kiwi’s hammering kiwi’s over something that doesn’t belong to us. The ME will be the ME regardless of who tries to influence it. The Americans want to be there then fine but in the end it’s the guards that become the prisoners.

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  23. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    SPC I am not at all confused.

    Do suggest that RT is making all that stuff up ?

    Do you suggest (seriously) that they were pro Bush ….

    Once again you are giving me the official msm line. I invite you to sit back and look at what is happening in reality.

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  24. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Kea, given the western (and much of the rest of the world is on-board) response to terrorism is bi-partisan, what do you expect the MSM to report?

    The Russians are known for their own response to domestic Islamist activity – and the initial Afghanistan issue was when their forces were in Afghanistan proping up a secular (left wing) regime.

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  25. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I am not sure Russian media is any less/more bias than the stuff we get fed.

    The bottom line is that I see no benefit for all the lives lost in US interventions. I am not anti the US, I am rather fond of them, but successive administrations have really made a mess of things. The current situation benefits no one, other than a few commercial suppliers, and has not improved global security. Rather the reverse.

    I think our American friends should go back home and leave the Muslim world to bitch and fight amongst themselves, as they have always done.

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  26. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    There is always going to be disagreement about the nature, level and duration of “intervention”. Between interventionists, let alone with super power isolationists. The world calls on the super power to do something, show leadership, because they can and the super power deigns to do so when the ducks line up domestically – it can be called a self-interest (secure oil) or can be called a vital security interest. Both the Cold war and the war against terrorists/terrorism provide an open license to interventionists.

    Collective security can become propping up governments from a commie threat or now an Islamist one. The bi-partisan American policy appears to be to withdraw from from an Iraqi and Afghanistan focus and provide a lower level of military (training and combat logistics support) for governments facing Islamist threat – but using drones to target terrorists even where local governments oppose this (such as in Pakistan).

    Whether the policy is effective or not is another matter (the ME both resenting foreign involvement and resenting dependence on it even when calling for this). It speaks to how the USA sees itself and how the West asks it to show leadership on collective security. Having the policy and demonstrating continued commitment to governments facing Islamist militant threat is supposed to maintain confidence in the future of democracy in the region – this despite the probable failure of intervention in Afghanistan).

    It is also to maintain domestic investment in the military (a world role being maintained post Cold war) and general coinfidence at home that the USA is still a super power, and last of all to maintain the idea of a western elite capable of collective security for democracy. One of the building blocks of the global market economy.

    Intervention can be counter-productive, Collective security extended to

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  27. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    the Middle East is arguably one region too far (certainly in terms of a cost benefit ratio) – given end time Christian fundamentalism in the USA and related support for Israel and Islamists resenting any Judeo-Christian super in the world let alone “their” region. But “civilisation”, and defence of it, is either global or it is not.

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  28. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Once again SPC, I accuse you of focusing on the ideal and the stated goals of all these interventions. My focus is on the results.

    The bi-partisan American policy appears to be to withdraw from from an Iraqi and Afghanistan focus and provide a lower level of military (training and combat logistics support) for governments facing Islamist threat

    Just like they did with Sadam and the Taliban. ? They have a poor record of success with supporting governments. Pakistan is another example, where they are now launching drone strikes on an ally.

    Just as you do, I support the idea behind all this (at least the stated one) but question the efficacy of their efforts. Even if we accept that the real reason is to secure the oil supply, then I still question this approach. Oil is only worth something if the Muslim nations sell it. The best price is obtained by selling it on the world market and the US is a big market. Why not let free market capitalism do it’s thing? All this bombing and invasion business does not come cheap. It seems like an awful fuss just to knock a few cents of a gallon of gas, even if we ignore the humanitarian concerns.

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  29. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    There is no pattern of supported regimes falling. They deposed Sadaam and the Taleban themselves. The inability has been to defeat the Taleban as a military force (because of their refuge near/over the Pakistan border) – this places the established government at risk of being removed (though drones/air power could make any Taleban return unpleasant). In the case of Pakistan – the drone attacks are in the country, not against the country. There is no real threat to the primacy of the military in Pakistan.

    It’s not really a matter of oil price, but the demonstration of commitment to global security and the global market (dependent on sufficient oil) – including the ME. That aside, support for democracy, where there is popular demonstration of support for this. The so called nod to House of Saud pretensions that the homeland of Mecca is a special case as there is no popular call for democracy.

    As to results, yes well … if the full cost was known in early 2002 I would imagine that a cost benefit analysis would have led to a more modest project.

    1. Just remove the Taleban, establish northern and southern warlords with US backing and left.
    2. Occupied the north and south of Iraq, where the oil was, and established Kurdish and southern Shia self government (oil exporting) regions. Offering to restore Iraqi unity when the Sunni Baath Party regime offered democratic elections.

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  30. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    That aside, support for democracy, where there is popular demonstration of support for this.

    I hope you are not referring to the so called “Arab Spring” ? It is nothing more than a bunch of political agitators attempting to gain power and install Sharia law. Once again, look at what has happened, not at what the msm said at the time. If you think it was about a more free and democratic society, you are dreaming my friend.

    There is no pattern of supported regimes falling. They deposed Sadaam and the Taleban themselves.

    Could have fooled me. If “they” deposed Sadam themselves, then why did the US invade them, twice ?

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  31. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    I would imagine the American position is to simply support democracy.

    That some Moslems want to use democracy as a tool to remove dictators and then impose a popular form of Moslem order of rule is their affair. The real question is how well they do at re-election.

    As to my saying – there is no pattern of supported regimes falling. They deposed Sadaam and the Taleban themselves.

    We were discussing the efficacy of American military and other support for regimes in the ME. Name one regime supported by the Americans that lost power and when the Americans opposed any change (post Teheran 1979).

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  32. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    SPC, if the US interventions are a success, then I would hate to see what failure looks like.

    I would imagine the American position is to simply support democracy.

    That some Moslems want to use democracy as a tool to remove dictators and then impose a popular form of Moslem order of rule is their affair.

    The whole thing is “their affair”. They don’t need US military strikes to help out.

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