CAIRO (AP) — Islamists are seeking to enshrine in Egypt’s long-awaited new constitution a number of articles that secularists and liberals fear would bring theocratic rule and severely set back civil liberties, including provisions that could empower clerics to review laws and would stipulate that women’s rights cannot violate Shariah law or “family duties.”
Liberals and secularists have been struggling to keep out the provisions, but are finding themselves outnumbered and vulnerable to being overruled on the 100-member assembly that is writing the charter meant to set the path for post-revolution Egypt.
The assembly, where Islamists hold a majority, has been debating the constitution over nearly 50 sessions during the past months. But the wrangling has heated up as the body gets closer to voting on a final draft, which would then be put to a yes-or-no referendum by the public, expected by the end of the year. Liberals, however, say they have few tools to block Islamists’ demands other than walking out of the assembly — a step they have wavered on taking for fear or losing their voice entirely.