In a joint statement released on Tuesday, Al-Nour party and the Salafi Calling denounced the draft constitution released for discussion two weeks ago.
The Salafi party and religious group expressed in the statement, their disappointment with the drafting of the constitution. They claimed the drafting committee changed around articles after they had been agreed upon. They accused the “secularists” within the Constituent Assembly of being responsible.
“We clearly see how obscenities are being promoted under the pretext of ‘freedom of expression,’ how the basic [values] are being slandered under the pretext of ‘freedom of thought,’ and how the family system is being demolished under the pretext of ‘equality,’” the statement read.
The party and group gave examples of compromises they made during the drafting process, such as agreeing on changing Article 2 from “the provisions of Shar’ia law are the main source of legislation” to “the basics of Shari’a law are the main source of legislation.”
They also said in some cases, articles which they had agreed to, had been removed by the drafting committee without consultation. They gave the example of an article which had stated, “rights and freedoms shall be practiced in a manner that doesn’t coincide with the values and general system of the society.” When the draft constitution was released, they were surprised to find this article not included, they said.
The statement also outlined the Salafis refusal of the recommendations issued to the Constituent Assembly by the Human Rights Council. The council suggested the Constituent Assembly put all international conventions above local laws. Al-Nour and Salafi Calling described this as a clear intervention in internal affairs.
Other Constituent Assembly members released a statement on Tuesday also denouncing the drafting process, saying, “this draft includes a number of unapproved articles, such as temporary articles which the assembly never reached consensus on,” according to state-owned news agency MENA.
The statement was signed by: Amr Moussa, Abdel Galil Mustafa, Ayman Nour, Gaber Nassar, Wahid Abdel Meguid, Fou’ad Al-Badrawi, So’ad Kamel Rizk, Salah Fadel, Omar Al-Mokhtar Semeida, Mohamed Mohi Al-Din, Abd Al-Tunesi, Abdel Sanad Yamama, Baha’ Abu Shakka, Mohamed Al-Fekki, Hossam Allam, Camelia Shokri and Ref’at Laqousha.
The draft constitution has been so far rejected by a number of political parties and human rights groups such as; the Strong Egypt Party (SEP), National Council for Women (NCW), Al-Dostour party and the Popular Current party.
Some in Al-Nour party said that the statement was not released with the Salafi Calling, possibly an indicator of a rift within Al-Nour.
“Al-Nour party did not release any joint statements with the Salafi Calling,” Al-Nour party spokesman, Yousri Hammad, said, agreeing however that it is true the party disapproves of the draft constitution, as he claimed it isn’t true to the form agreed upon by Constituent Assembly members. “The draft which all members have agreed upon and signed has been distorted and manipulated by the members of the drafting committee.”
Al-Nour party witnessed in September a rift among its high board in regards to its presidency. Hammad was among those who sided with the disputed head of the party, Emad Abdel Ghaffour. The other front, which included the other party spokesperson Nader Bakkar, was backed by the Salafi Calling.