Saturday, November 10, 2012 – Thousands of Egypt’s ultra-orthodox Salafi gathered on downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square to rally for a more expansive presence of shariah (Islamic law) in Egypt’s emerging constitution. After the January Revolution in Egypt, Egyptians sought to transition into a stable and secure governance; however, the process has been delayed repeatedly.
The final version of the new constitution is expected to face a national vote in Egypt. Although shariah law is being looked at by Islamic leaders, many Muslim Brotherhood politicians remain skeptical that the public will accept shariah law. Egypt functions today, as a secular state, and one where people can worship as they see fit.
Friday’s turnout of ultraconservative Salafis confirmed reports that the Islamic movement has gained momentum as an Islamic grass-roots movement, and is gaining ground throughout Egypt.
The showdown between the Salafi school of Islam, and the Muslim Brotherhood party will only further delay the framing of Egypt’s long awaited constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood are being challenged over their stance on the role of Islamic law in Egyptian society by the Salafi community.
The Egyptian Salafi movement, inspired by the teachings of Rashid al-Rida in the late 19th century, is looking to include new language in the constitution that will make room for shariah laws, including the hudud(restriction) laws. These shariah laws may result in punishments that would include the cutting off of hands, and stoning of criminals and adulterers.
It has also been recently claimed by government officials that Egyptian President Morsi has been reaching out to other Islamic leaders in Egypt in an attempt to break new ground on the drafting of the constitution. Some Islamists have already agreed to work with President Mosi. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood intends to keep theshariah hudud laws, as well as other taboo sharia principals out of the legislation.