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Hundreds in Egypt's Tahrir Square for preliminary Islamist mass demonstration

Islamist protesters congregate in Tahrir Square on Friday, as youth Islamist groups organize protests ahead of 9 November mass rally

Ahram Online, Friday 2 Nov 2012
Tahrir Square
Hundreds in Egypt's Tahrir Square (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Views: 3964
Views: 3964

Hundreds of Islamist supporters gathered in Tahrir Square Friday afternoon for a preliminary demonstration to call for the application of Islamic Sharia law in Egypt's constitution.

A mass rally is scheduled for 9 November by a group of Islamist forces to reinforce their demand.

A number of groups headed towards the square, as protesters demand replacing the word "principle" with "provision" in the constitution draft Article 2, which states that the principles of the Islamic Sharia law are the primary source of legislation.

Protesters chanted, "We are here to tell the Constituent Assembly that Egypt is an Islamic country."

Two marches from down town, Cairo joined Tahrir square Friday afternoon increasing the number of protesters.

A stage is also set in the square with speakers calling for the application of Islamic Sharia in an attempt to mount the pressure on the constituent assembly.

Several Islamist political groups, including Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, the Freedom and Justice Party and Al-Dawa Al-Salafiya have announced that they will form a coalition of political parties and Islamic forces to ensure that Egypt's new constitution is shaped in accordance with Islamic Sharia law, as they said they will organize a protest on 2 November to press for their cause.

However, the Islamist coalition agreed to postpone Friday's planned protests, which had been planned under the slogan "Demanding the application of Sharia in the constitution," until they are able to mobilise more people for their cause.

Nonetheless, a number of Islamist youth groups declared they will organise protests starting Friday and during the week leading up to 9 November.

The drafting of the new constitution is being hindered by conflicts between liberals and Islamists over the issue of applying Sharia. Several articles in the proposed constitution related to the issue have been rejected by liberal forces and human rights advocates.

The fate of the constitution-drafting body remains unknown. However, it remains at the centre of a legal battle in regards to the possible unconstitutionality of its formation. A case against the body was referred by the Administrative Court to the High Constitutional Court last Tuesday, and if successful it could lead to the dissolution of the current assembly.

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