CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)–- Hundreds of Christians were preparing Monday, July 30, for a massive protest outside Egypt’s Constitutional court to demand the dissolution of what they view as an Islamist-dominated assembly tasked with writing the country’s new constitution, rights activists said.
The legislators, appointed by a parliament that was dissolved by the military on June 14, has proposed a constitution that will adhere to the “principles of Islamic Sharia [as] the main source for legislation.”
Advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC) told BosNewsLife that Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) is expected to decide whether or not the Constituent Assembly, a body tasked with drafting Egypt’s new constitution, is legal. The current 100-member assembly is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.
“If the court dissolves the assembly, the military will be granted authority to create a new panel to write the document, making it less likely that Egypt’s constitution will be centered on Islamic law,” ICC said.
There have also been international concerns over the military’s influence over democratic institutions in Egypt, but minority Christians have made clear they fear more persecution under Islamic leaders.
In early July, Islamic legislators already proposed to base Egypt’s laws on the “principles” of Sharia, or Muslim law. “I am afraid of leaving the constitution in the hands of people who think in this way,” Shahata Mohamed Shahata, a lawyer fiercely opposed to Islamist rule, told reporters.
Aidan Clay, ICC regional manager for the Middle East, said, “The ‘Arab Spring’, which many of Egypt’s Christians and secularists believed would grant greater freedoms, has instead given rise to Islamists that do not recognize the rights of religious minorities.”
In remarks to BosNewsLife he admitted that “the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly will threaten the very fabric of Egypt’s revolution by giving the military—rather than a democratically elected assembly—the authority to write the country’s constitution.”
However, “If the military and the constitutional court do not intervene, then Islamic law will become the basis of the country’s legislation. Under a Sharia state, attacks on churches and the killing of Christians will continue to increase,” he said.
“Additionally, Christians and secularists who are viewed as a threat to the Islamist-dominated government will routinely be charged with blasphemy or ‘insulting Islam’ and thrown in prison”.
He added that, “The remaining freedoms that Christians and other religious minorities still have in Egypt will be completely taken from them.”
There was no immediate response from Egyptian officials.