Salafists back Egypt’s new constitution

Egypt’s second largest Islamist party, al-Nour, said it will support the draft charter in the country’s upcoming referendum

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Egypt’s second largest Islamist party, al-Nour, will participate in the upcoming referendum to vote “yes” to support the new controversial constitution to spare the country “more anarchy.”

“The Nour Party will take part in this referendum and will take part with “yes,” out of our concern for bringing about stability and so that we spare the country more anarchy,” Reuters quoted Younes Makhyoun, the head of the Salafist party, as saying in a news conference.

The Nour Party’s support for the army-led political transition has set it apart from Egyptian Islamists who opposed the July 3 overthrow of President Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The draft constitution is clear about banning political parties formed on a religious basis which could include the Nour party.

The hardline Salafist party so far has one representative in the constituent assembly.

Meanwhile, the draft constitution is not accepted by activists, who see it as robbing them of their newly attained freedoms after toppling former President Honi Mubarak in the 2011 uprising.

A judicial source told Reuters on Thursday that Egypt’s public prosecutor referred three political activists to trial on charges including protesting without permission.

The activists charged on Thursday include Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that helped ignite the historic 2011 uprising, and Ahmed Douma, another prominent dissident.

They were protesting against a provision in the draft constitution that allows the military to prosecute civilians in certain cases.

The protesters were detained for holding on November 26 what was the first illegal demonstration two days after interim president Adly Mansour passed a law banning unauthorized gatherings.

It was the first case of activists being charged under the provisions of a new law criticized for stifling the right to protest.

(With Reuters)

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