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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid