SOURCE: Coptic Solidarity

January 20, 2014 09:10 ET

New Egyptian Constitution Step in Right Direction

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - January 20, 2014) - Coptic Solidarity welcomes Egypt's choice this week in favor of the new constitution, signaling a clear rejection of the regressive Muslim Brotherhood and affirming the mass June 30th uprising which deposed him. 

Almost twenty one million Egyptians participated in the referendum, notwithstanding violent campaigns perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and supporting terrorist elements leading up to and even during the voting process. As compared to the 2012 referendum, the net supporting votes on the new constitution was more than nine million votes higher than it was (19.9 vs. 10.7) for the deeply flawed constitution of the disgraced Islamist regime. Less than half a million voted 'No,' compared with over six million in 2012.

In rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood's disastrous pan-Islamist project, Egyptians have expressed a firm desire for a constitution that will provide a framework for stability and progress through the protection of certain inalienable rights for all Egyptians, regardless of gender, race or creed. 

Coptic Solidarity believes that this new constitution, though flawed, is a step in the right direction for Egypt. We are pleased with some of the unprecedented rights embedded in the constitution, including on equality for women, stipulating that Copts and persons of disability be appropriately represented in local government, and overturning oppressive rules on church building by requiring that the first session of parliament issue a law enabling church building and maintenance so as to ensure that Christians can freely perform their religious rights. While certainly better than the 2012 constitution that would have turned Egypt into a Sunni theocratic state, the new constitution still contains a number of problematic articles, such as the exclusionist definition of Islam as the religion of the state, the continued reference to the sharia as the principle source of law, the lack of recognition for all religious minorities, and constitutionalizing the trial of civilians, albeit in certain situations, before military courts.

Coptic Solidarity will monitor closely the legal application of the new constitution, and the continued implementation of the roadmap to make Egypt an inclusive, progressive democratic state.

Coptic Solidarity is non-profit organization dedicated to leading efforts to achieve equal citizenship for the Copts in Egypt.

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    Hal Meawad
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