Egypt protesters call for Islamic rule

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The main Al-Nur Salafist party and the influential Muslim Brotherhood, from whose ranks Mubarak’s successor Mohamed Mursi comes, said they would not take part in the protest, organized by smaller radical groups.

A 100-member Constituent Assembly, dominated by Islamists, has been tasked with drafting a new constitution for post-Mubarak Egypt.

The new charter is to replace the 1971 one that was suspended by the military, which took power when Mubarak was ousted last February.

The old constitution said the main source for legislation were the “principles of sharia.” Ultra-conservative Muslims want the new charter to say it should be sharia alone.

Liberals, secularists and the Coptic church, whose minority community has become increasingly fearful of the rise of Islamists to power in Egypt, reject this stance.

“A constitution that hints at imposing a religious state in Egypt is absolutely rejected,” Egypt’s new Coptic Pope Tawadros II said on Monday, a day after he was chosen, the independent Al-Watan newspaper reported.

President Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has pledged that the new constitution would make reference to sharia, but in terminology suggesting a compromise.

In October, an Egyptian court meant to rule on the fate of the constitutional panel referred the case to a superior court, which has already expressed its opposition to the draft charter.

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