Egyptian Islamists rally for Shariah law

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CAIRO — More than 10,000 ultraconservative Muslims demonstrated today in downtown Cairo to demand that Egypt’s new constitution be based on the rulings of Islamic law, or Shariah, in the latest tussle over the role of religion in the country’s future.

The writing of the constitution has been fraught with controversy since last year’s political uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and ushered in the rise of formerly repressed Islamists to power.

The controversy surrounding the constitution is centered on the wording of the second amendment. In the former constitution, the wording stated that the “principles of Islamic Shariah” are the basis of legislation. This wording is favored by liberals because they say it meets the broad ideas of Islam.

Ultraconservatives want the wording changed to state that the basis of law will be “the rulings of Shariah,” implying Egypt’s laws may be left to the interpretation of religious scholars.

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