Views of Morsi and Shafiq on Religion and the State in Egypt (Photo: Ahram Online)
The following is a summary of the positions of Egyptian presidential candidates Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq regarding religion and the state in Egypt.
Candidate Morsi says that Muslims and Christians are part of the Egyptian nation and promises restoration of the reputation and independence of the religious intuitions—both Al Azhar and the Egyptian Church.
Candidate Shafiq says that the new Egyptian state should be based on the principle of citizenship with respect for religion.
Summary of Morsi's Position:
- The founding of the State on a national and constitutional basis, not as a military or a police state dominated by security forces. Nor should it be a theocratic state dominated by a group of religious men. Nor is it to be governed in the name of divine order; rather, the rulers must be elected citizens chosen in agreement with the public will.
- The nation is the only source of authorities, in which the only bases for whatever position are quality, experience and integrity.
- The nation alone owns the right to elect its rulers and parliament members, and it alone has the right to question and depose them, following in the footsteps of the Prophet’s companions and the Righteous Caliphs.
- The protection of human rights, which the Shari’a had already recognized. Most notable are the provision of all forms of freedoms and basic rights for every Egyptian, along with the correction of all practices or legislations that contradict or limits or violate these freedoms. For freedom is God’s gift to humans, regardless of color, race [ed. note: jins could also be "gender"] or faith. Freedom is also the condition of religious obligation and responsibility, and one of the greatest Shari’a objectives, which guaranteed humanity all forms of freedom, and most notably, freedom of faith.
- Granting Egyptians all basic freedoms and rights, which are necessary in any modern society, within the framework of true religious values, in addition to other social and political freedoms necessary for the practice of civil rights and social progress.
- The realization of the principle of citizenship and equality with the abolition of all forms of discrimination and the establishment of justice of all kinds. For the state must be founded on the principle of citizenship so that all citizens can enjoy equal rights and duties secured by the law.
- Insuring equal opportunities without religions or ethnic discriminations.
- The basis for citizenship is full equality before the constitution and the law, and full participation in rights and duties, with consideration of the specificity of personal status: “each according to his [religious] law”. For Egyptians, “Muslims and Christians”, are part of the nation and the builders of its civilization and culture, and they are partners in its progress and protection from internal or external threats.
- The restoration of the reputation of the religious intuitions—Al Azhar and the Egyptian Church—and their autonomy.
Source: The Official Website of Mohamed Morsi
Summary of Shafiq's Position:
- The adoption of a new constitution that confirms the civil nature of the state and the principles of citizenship and equality in rights and duties for all citizens regardless of religion and race.
- Respect for the position of religion, and the protection of freedom of faith and religious practices.
- Achieving balance between the legislative and executive powers.
- Creating an organized legal framework for religious places in a way that facilitates the process of construction and renovation.
- Revising school curricula in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination.
- The abolition trails of civilians before military courts.
- Confirming the autonomy of trade union activity and the freedom to create trade unions, and the expansion of this activity for all social groups.
Source: The Official Website of Ahmad Shafiq