Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square Friday demanding the implementation of the “rulings” of Islamic Shari’a.
Two marches, one from in front of Al-Fath mosque that started moving following Friday prayers and another from Talaat Harb Square, both with numbers running in the hundreds, made their way to Tahrir Square to join protesters already there.
“The people demand the application of God’s law,” chanted protesters while others shouted, “Islam is the solution.”
The protest was organised by several Salafi Islamist groups, the most prominent of which are Students of Islamic Shari’a, the Revolutionary Salafis, and Hazemoon, the supporters of disqualified ultraconservative Salafi presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.
They are demanding the application of Islamic law to all matters including economics, banking penal code as well as enforcing a more conservative lifestyle in line with Islamic teachings.
This protest comes in preparation for “Shari’a Friday,” a “million man” protest organised by Islamist and scheduled for next Friday 9 November.
Islamists have been demanding the adoption of Islamic law since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising last year.
Their political representation, led by the Salafi Al-Nour Party, has been arguing for a more Islamic constitution within the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution.
The debate is largely centred on the controversial Article 2, which states that Islam is the state religion and the principles of Islamic Shari’a are the main source of legislation.
Islamists demand the article be amended and the word “principles” be replaced with “rulings” or removed altogether to allow for a stricter interpretation of the text. The draft constitution released by the assembly in October maintained the original phrasing, however.
Although Islamists dominate the assembly, the largest represented group is the Muslim Brotherhood which joins secular groups in that it wants to leave the article as is.
In response, several Islamist political parties and groups, most notably the Jama’a Islamiya’s political wing, the Building and Development Party, called for a million-man march demanding the application of Shari’a. It was initially scheduled for Friday 2 November but was later postponed for a week to allow for better planning and because several leaders were in Mecca performing pilgrimage.
The group of Islamist parties and movements also announced the establishment of a Coalition for Defending Shari’a, which shall monitor the Constituent Assembly for violations of Shari’a.
“Let’s get it straight, the Qur’an is the constitution,” chanted the protesters.