Egypt's Gamaa Islamiya group has criticized a drive by a constitution-drafting panel to ban political parties based on religion, saying the move reflects the constitutional committee's "secularist face."
The panel has proposed the amendment of article 54 of Egypt's 2012 constitution in order to "ban the establishment of religion-based parties and religion-based political activity, which violate democratic principles."
Gamaa Islamiya, for its part, said the proposed amendment "aims to ban religion-based political parties and grants the authorities the right to ban any party on grounds that it violates the principles of democracy."
The group went on to argue that the proposed amendment would open the door to the establishment of political parties founded on an "atheistic" basis.
The move, the group added, "shows the enormous difference between this exclusionary [constitutional] panel and the previous constituent assembly that drafted the 2012 constitution [under ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi], which did not seek to ban either religious or secular parties."
Most panel members support the notion of a constitutional ban on religion-based parties to prevent what they call "mixing religion and politics."
Most of Egypt's religion-based parties, meanwhile, including the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and Gamaa Islamiya's Building and Construction Party, have boycotted the 50-member constitutional panel.
The Salafist Nour Party, the political arm of Egypt's Salafist Call group, is the only religion-based party to have a representative on the committee.
The ultra-conservative party, too, has voiced reservations about the proposed ban on religion-based parties, describing it as "ambiguous and in need of clarification."
AALast Mod: 26 Eylül 2013, 15:12