Despite Mr. Obama’s inexplicably close ties to the ‘moderate’ Muslim Brotherhood and despite his demands that Egypt be more inclusive of the Brotherhood, Egypt is moving ahead with their ‘democratic reforms’ without much representation by the Brotherhood. They have put out a draft constitution for discussion and ratification.
The constitution preamble says that Egypt hopes to ‘build a democratic, modern country with a civilian government.’
Make no mistake, this won’t be a Jeffersonian democracy, but it appears to provide more freedoms than Morsi’s dictatorial regime.
The constitution was agreed upon by the 50-member assembly, which included Coptic Christians, young secularists, very conservative Islamist groups and the interim president Adly Mansour.
The losers are the Brotherhood who did not have equal representation to the conservative Islamist party and the al-Azhar University.
Al-Azhar will be the sole issuers of Fatwas. Al-Azhar imams consider themselves ‘moderate’ though they once allowed ‘adult breastfeeding’ between a woman and strange men [intended to make them family members of the men]. They did retract that.
A study by Al-Azhar exposed the Fatwas by the Brotherhood and the Salafis including allowing slavery of women and marriage between a man and a ten-year old. [Raymond Ibrahim Gatestone Institute] Al-Azhar University will not permit these more extreme Fatwas – hopefully.
The constitution spells out procedures for the first election that will take place within 30 days of the adoption of the constitution. The president will serve no more than two four-year terms, be at least 40 years of age, and be born to Egyptian parents. They have a proviso for impeaching a president with a two-thirds majority.
They are keeping Islam as ‘the religion of the state’ and the ‘principles of Sharia’ will remain ‘the main source of legislation.’ The detailed definition has been removed.
Instead of stating that freedom of belief is ‘protected’ as in the last constitution, this draft says it is ‘absolute.’ Freedom to practice religion and to establish places of worship are limited to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Christians and Jews can follow their religious codes in personal status affairs.
The State and the military maintain their authority. Women are to be guaranteed proper representation in legislative bodies.
When the Brotherhood came to power, they weren’t simply a political party as they portrayed themselves to be. They were a government within a government with their own military force. It made them very dangerous. The new constitution guards against Islamist movements such as the Brotherhood. Parties can no longer be ‘formed on the basis of religion, gender, race or geography.’ Parties cannot engage in activities against democratic principles, be secretive or have military wings.
Personal and political rights are strengthened over the last constitution.
Freedom of speech and assembly are protected but only ‘according to the law [Sharia]’.
Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are protected and women are to be protected from violence.
Anyone arrested will have a lawyer, the right to ‘remain silent’, and the right to appeal.
Artists, writers, and filmmakers are guaranteed freedom to create with censorship during times of war and public mobilization.
Conditions under which civilians can be tried by the military are more limited.
Meanwhile President Obama, who would not cut off aid to the Brotherhood when Morsi was in power, continues to not renew aid to Egypt. Four M-1/A-1 tank kits, a dozen F-16s, a dozen AH-64 Apache have been left undelivered. The US also canceled hundreds of millions in financial aid. [Fox News]
Mr. Obama claims that it is because the US has to see that the Egyptian interim government is moving rapidly towards a ‘sustainable, inclusive, non-violent transition to democracy.’
Mr. Obama wasn’t too concerned when Morsi was imprisoning and torturing people and robbing them of their freedoms.
Photo of protester during the overthrow of the Morsi government via Doug Ross @directorblueblogspot
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Russia and Egypt negotiated a two billion dollar arms deal in mid-November. Egypt and Russia have not had close ties since 1979 when Sadat formed a pact with Israel and the US began aid to the country. This could be the beginning of an old and close relationship.
Way to go Obama!