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 Secular and liberal members have withdrawn from the committee, complaining that Islamists are over-represented in the group, and dominating its work.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

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More