The writing of the constitution has been fraught with controversy since last year’s political uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and ushered in the rise of formerly repressed Islamists to power. But Islamists themselves are not in agreement over the interpretation of Shariah and its place in the document.
Demonstrators in Tahrir Square demanded that the panel tasked with writing the constitution override liberal and secular objections and include language that could see religious scholars influencing legislation. The panel is led by the Muslim Brotherhood, the powerful Islamist group from which the country’s new President Mohammed Morsi hails.
“Shariah is our constitution,” and, “The people demand the application of God’s law,” protesters chanted.
The controversy surrounding the constitution is centered on the wording of the second amendment. In the former constitution, the wording stated that the “principles of Islamic Shariah” are the basis of legislation. This wording is favored by liberals because they say it refers to the broad ideas of Islam.