Islamists debate role of Sharia in constitution

Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb headed a meeting comprised of Constituent Assembly members from Al-Azhar, Salafi groups and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as a number of scholars to discuss Article 2 of the constitution and Sharia Law, state-run news service MENA reported on Wednesday.

Al-Azhar issued a statement saying that the participants in the meeting agreed on the wording of Article 2, and their draft will be made public after more work has been done on it.

All participants stressed that Al-Azhar is responsible for all Islam-related affairs in Egypt, which should be included in the new constitution.

The Salafi Nour Party said Wednesday that it met with Khairat al-Shater, a Muslim Brotherhood deputy guide, to discuss the application of Sharia and Article 2 of the constitution, yet the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party denied that such a meeting took place, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

“We agreed that the constitution should state that Sharia, and not its principles, is the source of legislation,” said Nour Party executive committee member Younis Makhyoun. “We also agreed that public freedoms should be disciplined by the laws of God.”

“We need to know the Brotherhood’s position on that,” he added.

Yasser Borhamy, a Salafi member of the Constituent Assembly, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Morsy and Shater promised him to amend Article 2 accordingly.

Yet Ahmed Abu Baraka, a leading figure of the Freedom and Justice Party, said Article 2 should stay as is. “It attains the objectives of Sharia in an overall sense,” he said.

Hassan Ibrahim, a member of the Constituent Assembly and the FJP, denied that there was any dispute over Article 2, MENA reported.

Ibrahim said that since the members of the Constituent Assembly, who come from different backgrounds, had agreed that Al-Azhar is a reference, there would be no reason for them to disagree over the second article.

Edited and combined translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm and MENA 

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