AFRICA/EGYPT – New Draft Constitution now available. Religious freedom guaranteed

Monday, 9 December 2013

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Arab Republic of Egypt is "a sovereign state, united and indivisible, a democratic republic, based on citizenship and the rule of law". This is how the Egyptian nation is defined in the new draft constitution prepared by 50 members of the Constitutional Assembly and destined to be subjected to a popular referendum by January 2014. An unofficial version of Egypt’s new draft Constitution is now available.
Article 2 defines Islam as the state religion and the principles of Islamic law (Sharia) are recognized as "the main source of legislation".
Article 3 states that the principles of the laws of the Egyptian Christians and Jews’ legislation are the main source of legislation governing their personal status and their religious affairs, and the choice of their spiritual leaders.
In Article 50, the Coptic era is listed among the elements that fall under the shared Egypt heritage of civilization.
In Article 64, freedom of belief is defined as "absolute". The freedom of religious practice and the establishment of houses of worship for members of the Abrahamic religions is guaranteed and regulated by the law. Article 74 gives citizens the right to form political parties, but it is forbidden to "establish political parties based on religion", or on the basis of discrimination on grounds of sex, origin, sectarian membership. Article 244 establishes the commitment of state institutions to work so that in the next parliament "the youth, Christians and persons with disabilities" are presented in an appropriate manner. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/12/2013)