Saturday, December 01, 2012

Text Of Egypt's Proposed Constitution-- Provisions On Religion

The full text of Egypt's proposed new Constitution became available today in English from Egypt Independent. BBC News has also published a side-by-side comparison of key provisions in the new constitution and those in the now-suspended 1971 Constitution. Here are some of the provisions in the new draft Constitution relating to religion and religious liberty:

Article 1
. The Arab Republic of Egypt is an independent sovereign state, united and indivisible, its system democratic.
The Egyptian people are part of the Arab and Islamic nations, proud of belonging to the Nile Valley and Africa and of its Asian reach, a positive participant in human civilization.

Article 2. Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation.

Article 3
. The canon principles of Egyptian Christians and Jews are the main source of legislation for their personal status laws, religious affairs, and the selection of their spiritual leaders.

Article 4
. Al-Azhar is an encompassing independent Islamic institution, with exclusive autonomy over its own affairs, responsible for preaching Islam, theology and the Arabic language in Egypt and the world. Al-Azhar Senior Scholars are to be consulted in matters pertaining to Islamic law.

The post of Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh is independent and cannot be dismissed. The method of appointing the Grand Sheikh from among members of the Senior Scholars is to be determined by law.

The State shall ensure sufficient funds for Al-Azhar to achieve its objectives.

All of the above is subject to law regulations.


Article 6.... No political party shall be formed that discriminates on the basis of gender, origin or religion.


Article 10. The family is the basis of the society and is founded on religion, morality and patriotism.

The State is keen to preserve the genuine character of the Egyptian family, its cohesion and stability, and to protect its moral values, all as regulated by law.....

Article 11. The State shall safeguard ethics, public morality and public order, and foster a high level of education and of religious and patriotic values, scientific thinking, Arab culture, and the historical and cultural heritage of the people; all as shall be regulated by law.


Article 43. Freedom of belief is an inviolable right.

The State shall guarantee the freedom to practice religious rites and to establish places of worship for the divine religions, as regulated by law.

Article 44. Insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets shall be prohibited....

Article 60.... Religious education and national history are core subjects of pre-university education in all its forms....

UPDATE: Another provision of interest is Article 219: "The principles of Islamic Sharia include general evidence, foundational rules, rules of jurisprudence, and credible sources accepted in Sunni doctrines and by the larger community."