A representative from the Coptic Church threatened to withdraw from the 50-member committee tasked with drafting the new constitution on Sunday to protest the removing of the word “civil” from the constitution’s preamble.
Bishop Boula of Tanta, the representative, had previously threatened to withdraw from the committee when “civil” was removed from the first article relating to the foundation of the system of government.
“We were surprised with the removal of the phrase granting the civil nature of the state without consulting us. This is something that we cannot accept. We were also surprised to see the explanation of the principles of Sharia according to the definition of Article 219,” Boula told state-owned news website EgyNews.
Boula added that the articulation of Article 219 was the main reason why the Church walked out of the constitutional committee during the drafting of the 2012 Constitution, and threatened to withdraw.
Unnamed sources told the privately-owned daily Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday that the removal of the phrase related to the civil nature of the state came after pressure from the country’s Grand Mufti, Fouad Allam, who rejected the inclusion of the “civil” in the constitution’s introduction.
Al-Azhar representatives feared that the phrase may be misunderstood as secular rather than civil.
EgyNews reported on Sunday that ultra-conservative representatives of the Salafi Al-Nour considered the definition of Sharia as “satisfactory.”