Sobhi Saleh: Article 2 in Current Constitution Not Written by Islamists, but Liberals
Sobhi Saleh, member of the Constituent Assembly (CA) tasked with drawing up a new constitution, reiterated that the new national charter will be for all Egyptians, reminding protesters that the CA is a constitutional institution formed by popular will.
In remarks at a symposium in Beheira, north of Cairo, Saleh added: "The Constitution of post-revolution Egypt is a new document altogether, in its structure and approach, its arrangement and philosophy, and its objectives, articles and intellectual differences".
Saleh stressed that the first draft of the constitution emphasizes the Egyptian identity and Islamic reference in Chapter One "The state and Society", which determines the identity of society at large, and the country’s frame of reference.
Saleh mentioned that Article 2, which states that "Islam is the official state religion and Arabic the official language", had been copied from the Constitution of 1923 – written by then liberals, not Islamists. He pointed the cultural difference between liberals in the past and the present.
Saleh said it was suggested that Article 221 should be merged with Article 2 into one article which would state that "the principles of Islamic Sharia include general evidence and fundamentalist bases, rules and jurisprudence sources accepted by Sunni scholars".
Saleh further said, describing basic political components, "The democratic system is based on the principles of consultation and citizenship – which means all citizens are equal in rights and duties – and political pluralism, as well as the rule of law, respect for human rights, guarantees for rights and freedoms, peaceful transfer or cycling of power and the separation and balance of powers".
Saleh affirmed that the Egyptian economic fundamentals aim to achieve balanced development, protect production, increase incomes, achieve social justice and solidarity, safeguard the rights of workers, raise the standard of living, and eliminate poverty and unemployment.