News / Middle East

Islamist Nour Party Walks Out of Egypt's Constitution Talks

Egyptian 6th of April movement members protest against the renewal of the state of emergency during a demonstration in downtown Cairo, Sept. 16, 2013.
Egyptian 6th of April movement members protest against the renewal of the state of emergency during a demonstration in downtown Cairo, Sept. 16, 2013.
Reuters
— Egypt's second biggest Islamist party on Monday walked out of a committee amending the constitution, to protest against moves to curb the influence of Islam in state affairs.

The Salafist al-Nour party, which backed the army's overthrow of the more moderate Islamist Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July, said it was not quitting the committee, but wanted to show its anger.

Amending the constitution pushed through by Morsi last year is part of the plan to return Egypt to elections after the army ousted the government on July 3, installing an interim administration.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, once Egypt's biggest Islamist group, is now the target of a sweeping security crackdown and has no representative on the constitutional committee. The government said it had declined an offer to join.

At least 2,000 Islamist activists, mostly linked to the Brotherhood, have been arrested and accused of terrorism or murder since the ouster of Morsi, who has also been jailed. More than 1,000 people have died in unrest since the ouster, mostly protesters killed by security forces.

Bassam al-Zarka, deputy head of Nour, left Monday's meeting, but had not quit the 50-member committee, Shabaan Abel Alem, a party official and former parliamentarian, told Reuters.

“Dr. Bassam had suggestions about the articles related to Islamic identity but was surprised to find his opinion not even written in the session's minutes and completely ignored,” said Alem. Nour remained on the committee, he said, and would continue to press its point of view.

“We had reservations about the committee and its improper representation of the state's powers from the start, yet we decided to join as we are pro-negotiations as a way to implement our goals,” said Alem.

Despite the government's promise of fair representation for all segments of society, the committee has very few members from the Islamist parties that swept all elections after a revolt toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The army's plan set 60 days for the committee, that started this month, to complete its work. The constitution will then be put to a referendum, leading to elections next year.

A draft containing possible amendments for the new constitution, leaked to the media last month, showed a desire to decrease the influence of Islamic laws and ease rules banning officials from the Mubarak era from running for office.

It also suggested restoring a voting system, used under Mubarak, which favored individuals over parties and which would hamper the chances of organized groups like the Brotherhood from winning.

The draft also emphasized the rights of women and children, neglected in Morsi's Islamist-drafted document.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid