Gamaa Islamiya's Party to join Friday pro-Sharia rally

Ahram Online, Tuesday 6 Nov 2012

Islamist groups – including Gamaa Islamiya and Salafist Calling – call for Friday demo to demand full implementation of Islamic Law in Egypt's new constitution

Tahrir square
Protesters gather in Tahrir square on Friday 2 November asking for the Sharia law (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

The Building and Development Party – the political wing of Egypt's Gamaa Islamyia movement – announced on Tuesday that it would take part in a planned Friday protest to demand the application of Islamic Law in the country's new constitution.

"Gamaa Islamyia calls on whoever believes in God, Islam and Prophet Mohamed to support their law, as Egypt's secularist forces are working to eradicate the presence of Islamic Law in the constitution," read the statement, which went on to urge Egyptians to participate in the planned demonstration.

The protest – organised by several political Islamist groups, including Gamaa Islamiya and the Salafist Calling – had initially been planned for 2 November, but was delayed by one week in order to mobilise more participants.

Hundreds of Islamist supporters nevertheless gathered in Tahrir Square last Friday to stage a preliminary rally.

According to the group's statement, protesters will demand a major role for Islamic Law within Egypt's new national charter by including a constitutional article stating that Islamic law constitute "the main source of legislation."

The issue has provoked a heated dispute among Islamist and non-Islamist members of the Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution), with 'civil' – i.e., non-religious – forces calling for the article in question to remain unchanged from the 1971 constitution.

The previous charter had stated that only the "principles" of Islamic Law should represent the main source of legislation in Egypt.

Implementation of Islamic Law in Egypt's constitution has been a primary objective of several Islamist parties and groups in the wake of last year's Tahrir Square uprising.

At a panel discussion held in Alexandria on Monday, Salafist preacher and Salafist Calling member Abdel-Moneim El-Shahat vowed that the Salafist Calling "would not compromise" on the issue of the implementation of Islamic Law.

"We're going to mobilise the streets," said El-Shahat. "Every Egyptian who cares about their religion will demand that Islamic Law be fully – not gradually – applied under the terms of the constitution."

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