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Egyptian Court Suspends Constitutional Panel Over Islamist Concerns


"...reservations of various political forces on how the constitutional commission was composed."

CAIRO (The Blaze/AP) -- An Egyptian court has suspended a 100-member panel selected by lawmakers from the Islamist-dominated parliament and tasked with drafting a new constitution. This development is the latest in a string of issues that have surrounded the group tasked with mapping out the Middle Eastern nation's political future.

(Related: Egypt's Coptic Christians Boycott Constitutional Panel Over Islamist Influence)

Already, Coptic Christians, a minority group that has been living in fear regarding what their standing will look like in Egypt once the dust settles and Islamist control takes hold, had expressed worries about the panel. As The Blaze reported last week, Coptic Christians have already been boycotting the panel. Here's what we originally reported:

Rather than keeping its two church members on the committee, the Holy Synod has decided, unanimously, to remove them from the discussions. According to a report from the MENA news agency, the church believes that it’s “inappropriate to continue to be represented given the reservations of various political forces on how the constitutional commission was composed.”

These withdrawals come as some individuals are claiming that they are being used, AFP reports, as “collateral” for Islamists seeking to infuse the new constitution with their political ideology. The Christians’ decision comes following Pope Shenouda III’s death. Shenouda, the leader of the Coptic church, often acted to protect the religious minority.

Tuesday's ruling followed complaints by political groups and constitutional experts over the parliament's decision to give lawmakers half the seats on the panel. Islamist lawmakers, combined with like-minded individuals, ended up with 60 seats on the panel.

The experts said this violates a constitutional declaration adopted in a referendum last year. Some two dozen members have quit the panel, protesting the selection process.

The ruling is a blow to Islamists. Their insistence that lawmakers get half the panel prompted charges that they wanted to monopolize the process and give the new constitution an Islamist slant.

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