Today and tomorrow millions of Egyptians will be heading to the polls. It is likely that the majority of registered voters turning out to vote in Egypt’s constitutional draft referendum have never even read the new draft much less compared it to previous ones or analyzed it in any real way. But the mood of the country strongly indicates the draft will be approved.
Ordinary Egyptians associate the new draft with hope and a bright future. The backdrop for this moment of decision is a no-holds-barred battle against the Muslim Brotherhood by Adly Monsour and Egypt’s interim government, which recently designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization. Another signal of likely acceptance is that Egyptians in the 40 days since the new constitution was issued by the assembly have never discussed variations or re-writes or scrapping it to begin again – although there has been much controversy over critical articles.
The notion of expedience in getting past the difficult and lengthy procedure of constitution drafting notwithstanding its fundamental significance and the popular belief that General Al Sisi (the decisive figure for the secular pro-democracy fight ousting Morsi) will seriously consider running for president could be motivation for a “yes” vote. There is enough middle ground in Egypt’s new draft constitution that Egypt’s next president, if elected by secular liberals, will use his position to ignore the Shariah and ideally begin measures to progress the country toward a grasp of human rights and religious freedom.
If the country votes “yes” to this current Shariah-leaning document it will be because the cleansing of Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood) and terrorists (Hamas) is seen as genuine and successful enough to produce the political will needed for further initiatives to roll back a religious state. This would not be easy or quick, but without efforts to do so Egypt will continue to spin in the same vicious cycle. The wind is at Egypt’s back with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait aiding economically and happy to see the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Banning political parties with religious platforms would be a start to bring Egypt into an age of equality and religious freedom, as well as removing current public school textbooks which contain Koranic verses and doctrine, regulating the workplace to rid discrimination, and eliminating Islamist-dominated courtroom double-standards. This would have to occur by executive order to ultimately free a nation mired in barbaric backward precepts.
Realistically, Egypt’s three-year upheaval with its fight for liberal concepts and Western freedoms must begin with a courageous leader who will not only purge terrorism but root out penetrated corruption, address mosque teachings through the Al Ahzar Institute to dissolve hate doctrine, and encourage democratic ideals incrementally.
The existing conflict in Egypt between the forward thinking pro-secular populace and Islamic religionists must be won in the momentum of the current battle which includes accepting this draft constitution and assuring that all terrorists and terror mentality are eliminated from the country before this opportune moment has vanished unlikely to be recaptured without more bloodshed. The risk with a “no” vote and non-approval of this draft constitution is that it may potentially constitute a motive for world pressure over Egypt to re-instate Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to their previous status and power.