The great experiment in republican government worked out pretty well for American colonists following our evolution; the country grew, prospered and became a beacon of freedom for oppressed peoples around the world. But fast-forward a couple hundred years to modern-day Egypt and the ongoing turmoil driving a wedge between the government from its people. Would America’s constitutional foundation be a good example for the divided country to follow?

Could the U.S. Constitution work in Egypt?

Reason’s Ed Krayewski argues that the American system, though not perfect, would be an excellent example for Egyptians to follow:

Many of our constitutional rights are now under assault—the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, even the Third Amendment. Yet the rights enshrined in those articles are still there to put up a fight about. And despite the ruling party’s constant protests about an “obstructionist” Congress, the legislature’s ability to thwart an often unpopular presidential agenda is actually a constitutional feature in action.

And it might be what Egypt needs. Rather than seeking to draft a constitution that outlines what government ought to do for (and to) people, Egyptians need a constitution that limits the power of government. The Muslim Brotherhood was targeted by the Egyptian state throughout the rule of Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak; it in turn was overthrown largely on the perception that it was imposing an Islamist agenda on the Egyptian State. Though modern Egyptian constitutions have declared Islam as the religion of the nation and the latest one called on it as a source of law, Egyptians may find a constitution that protects the state from the mosque and the mosque from the state works better. Such a separation could both protect the Muslim Brotherhood from government persecution and also prevent it from trampling on the rights of women and non-Muslims.