News / Africa

Egypt Sets Date for Referendum on Constitution

In this image from a live broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to the constituent assembly in Cairo on Dec. 1, 2012.
In this image from a live broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to the constituent assembly in Cairo on Dec. 1, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has set a date of December 15 for a national referendum on a controversial new constitution that has sparked large protests. The president announced the date after Egypt's Islamist-dominated assembly handed its final draft of the constitution to him late Saturday. The draft retains the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation.

Earlier Saturday, tens of thousands of Islamists demonstrated across Egypt in support of Morsi and the draft constitution. Supporters gathered outside Cairo University and elsewhere, waving Egyptian flags, raising banners and demanding the implementation of what they called "God's law."

Activists from both the Muslim Brotherhood group and the more hardline Salafist Nour Party led the crowd in chants of "the people want to apply God's law." Islamist supporters of Morsi insist the new constitution must be based on Islamic sharia law.

A man holds a copy of the Quran during pro-Morsi rally outside Cairo University, Dec. 1, 2012.
A man holds a copy of the Quran during pro-Morsi rally outside Cairo University, Dec. 1, 2012.

The rump committee that drafted Egypt's proposed new constitution Friday is expected to present the document to Morsi in a matter of hours. Secular and liberal members have withdrawn from the committee, complaining that Islamists are over-represented in the group, and dominating its work.

Sheikh Younes Makhloun, a Salafist member of the constitutional committee, defended its work before the crowd at Cairo University.

Makhloun said what he calls "God's law," or Islamic sharia law, should be the basis of Egypt's legal system, since Egypt is a Muslim nation and must follow the precepts of Islam.

At the same time, a smaller crowd of Morsi's opponents protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square, at times chanting slogans against him and the proposed constitution. Members of 35 secular, liberal and leftist groups that support the protest are continuing a sit-in there, but there was no call for a mass demonstration in the square on Saturday.

Tareq, a young demonstrator, said many people from the opposition stayed away from Saturday's protests to avoid pro-Morsi crowds.

A large crowd of opposition protesters turned out for the groups' million-man march on Tuesday, Tareq said, but concerns about possible clashes with Islamist militants kept many people at home Saturday.

Fighting between supporters and foes of the president and the new constitution broke out early Saturday in Alexandria. Rocks were thrown at an anti-Morsi crowd that had gathered in front of the Qaid Ibrahim mosque in Egypt's second largest city.

A number of Arab analysts say the worries about increased violence are valid. They see the political situation in Egypt as deadlocked, with Egyptian society divided down the middle between support or opposition to President Morsi.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AmericanMuse from: USA
December 02, 2012 1:14 AM
Religion-based national constitutions or governments are not good for humankind. They are an abomination.

by: Ahmed Rabie from: Texas
December 02, 2012 1:03 AM
To Carol from Louisiana: what is your definition for democracy? Morsi is an elected president in the first free and fair election process in our country (seems ali baba was not following the situation closely). My people chose Morsi with a margin way even far from the margin between Obama and Romney.
second: how do you relate your money with forcing certain form of political structure in our country that satisfy only your standers
Third: we do need US money any more and we build our country ourselves.
Finally: "terrorist" and "terrorism" are totally different words than "Islamist" and "Islam" and I do not have to defend my people or my belief. you are the one who should understand our beliefs if you want to be fair when judge others who differ with you in opinions
In Response

by: Ruben Misrahi from: beachwood, OH
December 02, 2012 1:23 PM
If democracy is nothing but free elections, a referendum to wipe out all Coptics may pass, they're just 10% of the population.

When democracy is reduced to one man one vote, it often becomes also "one man, one vote, one time."

Many nations are not yet ready for democracy, there has to be a process of education that guarantees rights to minorities and women. The Arab Spring may be nothing but a proof that you can use any system to oppress people.

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
December 02, 2012 11:15 AM
He was elected by illiterate people whom they will collected by his fanatic organization . there was iregularities in voting ,and his rival file case in the attorney general .the attorney general accept the paper and order for investigation.next day moresy fire the attorney general to stop that investigation .who will elect a person want islam is the law of the land and country move backward into stone age. many muslims are aganist that . three former presidents in egypt .Mubark and Nasser banned muslim brotherhood from particpatin g in politices .the reason is that they know how muslim brotherhood are vicious organization

by: Abu Abdullah from: Saudi Arabia
December 01, 2012 11:40 PM
"Islamists are over-represented in the group" -- the majority of Egyptians voten in the Islamists. That is how their demographics is.

by: Ruben Misrahi from: Beachwood, OH
December 01, 2012 11:16 PM
This comes to show that there is more to democracy than just voting.

by: Carol from: Louisiana
December 01, 2012 5:29 PM
It is time for America to bring home all the dollars being sent to this terroist regime! Congress needs to act immediately.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
December 02, 2012 2:07 AM
i agree with you.please write to your senator.write to obama whom refuse to stop aids to egypt .in addition ,he proposed given Egypt other 1.5 billion .i do not know why. to support a terroist regime

by: ali baba from: new york
December 01, 2012 4:48 PM
the Referndum is phoney. who will vote . only the illiterate and fanatic and the result will be fabricated . like the election is phoney .how many times moersey use deception and liar to achive his gool .moresy is actiong as a person who refuse to understand . he knows that ecnomic crisis .he knows unempolyment .he knows that tourism generate a lot of jobs and money. he knows that political and religion fanatic will alienate tourism . he does not care about that. he does not care about minority right . he want the country to change to an islamic state on the expenses of disaster

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs