Sameh Fawzi: No Consensus Among Copts to Amend 2nd Article of Constitution
The Coptic journalist, Sameh Fawzi, said that ” the second article of the constitution-which states Islamic Sharia as the source of country’s legislations- has never had any legal effect on the Coptic situation in Egypt”.
“there has never been any legal study that explains that the legal position of the Coptic citizens is hurt by this article; therefore, the issue is not legally debated “, said Fawzi, considering that “the main issue lies in how to apply the legal text”.
He said that “The discrimination may take place among Muslims and Copts if we do not apply the legal and constitutional bases that guarantee equality among all Egyptian citizens” calling for ” not restricting the issue of citizenship to texts, but it should be achieved on the ground through right exercises”.
Fawzi pointed out that the current controversy over the constitutional amendments is politically motivated in the first place, saying “I advise Copts to stop short of involving themselves in this debate over the second article, because this will put them in a needless unjustified sectarian confrontation with the Muslims” according to Fawzi.
“Those who think that this article is a hurdle to the civil country that they seek should defend this view themselves without using the Copts as a Trojan horse in this issue, something that may prompt more sectarianism and marginalization of the Copts” he added.
Describing this issue as a Coptic demand is not true, according to Fawzy “The Copts include several movements; they aren’t constituting one single bloc whose priorities are defined by the church, therefore, the Copts shouldn’t be, with all their trends, put in the same basket with the church, a violation of the priciple of citizenship that Father Morqus is calling for”
In reference to Father Murqos statement calling for an amendment of the Second Article of the constitution, Fawzi stated that “Father Murqos was expressing his own personal opinion, or the opinion of the clerical institution which doesn’t necessarily represent all Copts”
“If the church is serious about this demand, why doesn’t it send an official letter to the concerned authorities!?” he wondered.
The Coptic writer hinted that some exploit the current heated clash between the Egyptian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood which may “provide a suitable climate for ratifying other highly debated articles that may harm the interests of the Egyptian people” in his view
It is worth mentioning that the government has escalated its security and media campaigns against the Muslim Brotherhood group to the extent that president Hosni Mubarak has recently declared to an Egyptian newspaper that the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat to the Egyptian security and warned the country will be isolated if they take power. A government vetted newspaper said that the “officially outlawed” group does not believe in the right of citizenship and will harm the Copts if they take control. The Muslim Brothehood has strongly and repeatedly confirmed that it considers all citizens to be equal and must enjoy the same rights regardless of their religious background.
Father Murqos, the official spokesman of the Coptic church, has recently called for introducing amendments to the second article of the Egyptian constitution stipulating that ” the Islamic Sharia is the main source for legislation”, demanding deleting “the” so that the required amendment be ” the Islamic Sharia is a main source for legislation” to guarantee having other sources. He also demanded a suitable quota for the Copts in the media and state’s public posts.