New Arab Constitutions Shaped By Diverse Islamic Interpretation

Analysis, posted 08.14.2012, from Egypt, in:
New Arab Constitutions Shaped By Diverse Islamic Interpretation (Photo: Reuters)

Theoretically, the process of writing a constitution implies a state of accord between the constituents of society in order to successfully draft road maps for future generations. But, in reality, the process involves fierce political, social and moral struggles among political and societal forces that strive to put their mark on — and protect their interests through — the new constitution.

The greater the ideological and political divide that exists between political forces, the harder and more strenuous the process of drafting a constitution becomes. Therefore, mistaken is he who thinks that constitutions are mere generalized texts that emerge from nothing. In fact, they represent the pinnacle of political struggle between all forces.

Contrary to what some might believe, the battle to write constitutions is harsher and more complicated in democratic countries or in countries that have undergone popular revolutions — as was the case in the Arab world — as opposed to what occurs in authoritarian states, where constitutions merely reflect and serve to implement the will of the ruler, without any participation by the people.

Now that the Islamists have ascended to power in more than one Arab country, they have become instrumental parties in the drafting of constitutions in the post-Arab Spring era. This fact leads to many questions, not only to do with the content and wording of new Arab constitutions, but also the manner in which the process of drafting constitutions is managed.

The ensuing conflict seems the more pronounced when it comes to Egypt, the subject of this article, where a fierce battle rages between all participating and non-participating factions in the process of drafting the new constitution.

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By Khalil al-Anani

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