62. The amendments: would they put an end to the religious state?

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Jamāl As‘ad discusses the constitutional amendments and how they would put an end to the concept of the religious state.

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What is the religious state? It is a state that is ruled by men of religion or under the name of religion through religious teachings. "This definition is definitely influenced by the historical background to the concept of the religious state whether in Europe or in the Islamic World," Jamāl As‘ad said. "However," he added, "let us analyze the political reality we are living through nowadays away from constitutions and laws. Are we still living under the power of religion? The answer is definitely yes; even if power is not directly given to men of religion. By saying that we are controlled by religion, I do not mean that men of religion are ruling the country. By this I mean the effect of religion on the lives of Egyptian."

Throughout history, Egyptians have been known for their religious fervency. Although the 1923 Constitution was the start of establishing a civil state, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in 1928, kept on looking for a role for religion; thus, trying to keep the concept of the religious state through manipulating the religious emotions among people in Egypt. Accordingly, the roles of religious foundations spilled over from the purely spiritual side and took on political roles under the name of religion. "This policy continues until the present day," Jamāl As‘ad said, "when Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood adopt slogans like ’Islam is the solution;’ thus, manipulating people’s religious feelings and emotions."

The question now is: could the Constitution put an end to this kind of manipulation? Would these religious leanings, if banned from public power, be directed to the welfare of mankind, to the welfare of an ethical, religious and cultural society? "It is not enough to just promote the concept of citizenship through amending the constitution," Jamāl As‘ad added, "What is required is to put this concept into action through formulating laws that would punish anyone who would differentiate among Egyptians for any reasons; especially religious ones."

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