Unambiguous references to Islam causes concern

Fine lines of dissonance have begun to emerge in the coalition opposed to the deposed President Mohamed Morsy, whose aggrieved supporters were gearing up for another show of strength on Friday.

A youth wing of Coptic Christians, who had so far actively and unreservedly supported the coup that toppled Mr. Morsy, fired the first salvo against the road-map for political transition unveiled on Tuesday by interim President Adly Mansour.

They are apparently dismayed by the unambiguous references incorporated in the 33-article transition document on the role of Islam in Egypt’s political governance.

“The [constitutional declaration] is not compatible with the ideals of the 30 June uprising... that went out for a civil state that upholds religious and cultural diversity,” read the statement of the Coptic youth activists.

The Maspero Youth Union — the name of the group — narrowed down its criticism to the first article of the presidential declaration that stated that the Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic system based on citizenship; that Islam is the religion of the state; Arabic is its official language; and the principles of sharia law derived from established Sunni canons are its main source of legislation.

Principles

The Egyptian daily Al Ahram reported on its website that this article — which has combined Articles 1, 2 and 219 of the suspended constitution — the latter being added by Islamists to outline the meaning of “principles of Islamic sharia” stated in the second article.

The daily pointed out that article two of the 1971 constitution had also stated that the principles of sharia were the primary source of legislation, but there was no more elaboration.

The Coptic group warned that “it seems the revolution is not complete”, and asserted its readiness to work for fulfilling its aspirations.

The Tamarod campaign, which had steered the anti-Morsy revolt through massive street demonstrations and a signature campaign, also found fault with the Presidential order.

It said that under Mr. Mansour’s transition plan, power had been excessively concentrated in the office of the interim Presidency.

The Muslim Brotherhood has already rejected the transition road-map, and is set to intensify its campaign to reinstate the deposed President. From its hub in front of Cairo’s Rabba Al-Adawiya mosque, Brotherhood activists had fanned overnight across Cairo to campaign for staging a “million man” march on Friday.

With the Brotherhood at its core, Islamist groups have formed, “The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy” whose goal is to mobilise against the military coup and return Mr. Morsy to power.

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