Writers and artists protest 'Brotherhoodisation' of Egypt's constitution

Mohammed Saad , Monday 3 Sep 2012

Egyptian intellectuals fear freedom of expression is threatened by what they consider a Brotherhood-controlled assembly that is drafting the new constitution

Side of the Protest (Photo: Ayman Hafez)

Hundreds of Egyptian writers and artists staged a protest on Sunday, 2 September in front of the Shura Council (upper house) building to protest the first leaked drafts of the constitution that is being written by the Constituent Assembly.

Protesters demand the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, which they describe as "illegitimate."

Writers Bahaa Taher, Mohamed Salmawy, Saad Hagras, Nabil Abdel Fattah Salwa Bakr, visual artist Mohamed Abla, and publisher Mohamed Hashem were among the protesters.

The protesters argue that the members of the current Assembly are not elected and do not represent the wide range of Egyptian society.

The protesters said that the Assembly is part of the Brotherhoodisation of the country, as its members only reflect the views of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, they charge, is consolidating its grip and monopolise the next constitution to conform to their views.

The first leaked draft of the articles on freedoms show signs that the new constitution might hold onto the times of censorship and actually put new constraints on freedoms of creativity and expression.

"We’re here today to call for a constitution that reflects the views of all Egyptians; we want a real social contract - not a contract between the Muslim Brotherhood, which is very discriminatory," publisher Mohamed Hashem told Ahram Online.

"The discourse they’re adopting is very racist and discriminatory. We won’t accept that. They do not respect the rest of the people and they think we’re all atheists. Imagine what kind of a constitution these people could write!” he added.

Visual artist Mohamed Abla expressed his dismay over the Constituent Assembly, arguing that it does not reflect the Egyptian identity. All Egyptians should participate in the drafting and come up with a constitution that reflects their views, he asserts.

"This assembly is illegitimate and, therefore, the constitution will be void, too. This will bring us back to square one: we should dissolve this assembly and elect another one,” Abla said.

Writer Ibrahim Abdul Maguied spoke his views to Ahram Online that the current Assembly isn’t transparent, since they always leave out certain information on the advancements they make on the constitution.

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