- Middle East/North Africa
Islamist leaders continued on Thursday to promote a yes vote for the constitution in the national referendum to be held this Saturday. In popular conferences, they slammed the opposition's rejection of the constitutional draft.
"We are reaping the fruits of voting for the Constitutional Declaration of 19 March 2011, because it allowed a Constituent Assembly selected by the Parliament to write the constitution," said Salafi Da'wa spokesperson Abdel Moneim al-Shahat.
The 2011 declaration paved the way for a predominantly Islamist Parliament to be elected, out of which a Constituent Assembly was formed. That body drafted the constitution, but the opposition claims the assembly was hijacked by Islamists and the draft they produced is not representative of all Egyptians. A number of figures, including the Journalists Syndicate, church representatives and Nubian figures, had walked out of the assembly.
"Although many have praised the constitution draft, the political forces that criticize it are only concerned with the issue of whether to recognize the Holocaust and civil marriage ... The closer we are to ballot boxes, the closer they are to Molotov cocktails," Shahat said.
In a conference for the Salafi Da’wa called “Why ‘Yes’ to the Constitution?” held in Suez, Shahat said that he was astonished by people who claim that Islamists take advantage of the illiterate by bribing them with sugar and oil to influence their votes.
"What do those people do to fight illiteracy? Islamist leaders are implementing literacy programs that do not just teach illiterate people to read, but teach them about all aspects of life," Shahat claimed.
The Egyptian people must approve the constitution draft because it upholds Sharia and does not marginalize the role of Al-Azhar, Shahat said. Al-Azhar would be responsible for interpreting Sharia-related matters of law.
Shahat denounced Mohamed ElBaradei for not attending the national dialogue that President Mohamed Morsy had called for last Saturday. He claimed that Baradei himself had been the one that had been requesting such dialogue in the first place.
The Salafi Nour Party spokesperson Nader Bakkar also criticized the political forces that refused to participate in any kind of dialogue to contain the current crisis, as has been requested by both Morsy and the Armed Forces, he said.
"This situation could be read as an attempt to overthrow the [current] authority," Bakkar said during a meeting on the constitution held by the Freedom and Justice Party in Alexandria.
Bakkar stressed he rejected violence and bloodshed. He added that the forces that pulled out from the Constituent Assembly were simply looking to achieve political gains.
Muslim Brotherhood leader Tawkeel Masoud praised the constitution draft saying it was "inspired by Sharia,” and that instability would prevail if the constitution does not pass.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm