CAIRO: Thousands of hard-liners demonstrated in Cairo yesterday to demand that Shariah, or Islamic law, be the basis for legislation in a new constitution being drafted for Egypt.
Several thousand people rallied in Tahrir Square for the second consecutive Friday to vent their demands.
“The people want implementation of God’s law!” they chanted.
“The Qur’an is above the constitution,” read a placard strung across the emblematic Cairo landmark that was the cradle of the 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak from power.
“Bread, freedom, Shariah,” said another sign, with the word Shariah replacing a call for “social reform” central to last year’s uprising.
The main Al-Nur Salafist party and the influential Muslim Brotherhood, from whose ranks Mubarak’s successor Muhammad Mursi comes, said they would not take part in the protest, organized by smaller radical groups.
Liberals, secularists and the Coptic church, whose minority community has become increasingly fearful of the rise of radicals to power in Egypt, reject this stance.
“A constitution that hints at imposing a religious state in Egypt is absolutely rejected,” Egypt’s new Coptic Pope Tawadros II said on Monday, a day after he was chosen, the independent Al-Watan said.
President Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has pledged that the new constitution would make reference to Shariah, but in terminology suggesting a compromise.