Thursday, February 17, 2011

Egypt looking at changing constitution - will it include Article 2?

Last week the BBC reported that while some opposition groups want to rewrite Egypt's constitution from scratch, others are concentrating on very specific parts.

Today the head of Al Azhar University said that there was one section of the constitution - Article 2 - that he says will definitely not be changed, and any attempt to do so would be an act of sedition:

Islam is the Religion of the State. Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).

It will be interesting to see if any of the other parts of the constitution that favor Islam will be up for review. For example:

Art.11: The State shall guarantee coordination between woman’s duties towards her family and her work in the society, considering her equal to man in the political, social, cultural and economic spheres without detriment to the rules of Islamic jurisprudence (Sharia).

Art.19: Religious education shall be a principal subject in the courses of general education.

There is, however, a lively debate at Al Ahram where a surprising number of people want to scrap Article 2 and make Egypt's constitution congruent with universal human rights norms.