2 September 2013
According to Nour Party officials, the selections have served to "marginalize the Islamist trend" from the constitution-amending process
The Salafist Nour Party on Monday said it would not withdraw its representative from the 50-member committee tasked with deciding amendments to Egypt's constitution, despite the party's reservations about the panel's composition.
Deputy party head Bassam al-Zarqa was included in a Sunday presidential decree which named the 50 members of the constitutional committee.
Besides al-Zarqa, the only other Islamist-leaning figure on the committee is Kamal al-Helbawi, an Islamist thinker and ex-Muslim Brotherhood figure who has been a vocal critic of the group.
According to Nour Party officials, the selections have served to "marginalize the Islamist trend" from the constitution-amending process.
"The selections marginalized the political parties, especially the Islamist ones," party spokesman Sherif Taha told Anadolu Agency.
"The committee only included one member [al-Zarqa] from the Islamist parties
while the other figure [al-Helbawi] doesn't represent Islamist parties," he added. "This indicates the exclusion of and disregard for the Islamist trend."
Taha nevertheless said his party would not shun the constitutional panel.
Last month, the party announced its decision to participate in the 50-member committee, reversing an earlier decision to boycott the panel following proposals to remove Article 219 of the charter, which describes the "principles of Sharia" as "all proofs, jurisprudential bases and sources agreed upon by Sunni schools."
"The constitution is a very important issue for Nour; one of the main factors that drove us to participate in the committee is the pursuit of a constitution reflective of the country's Islamic identity," Taha said.
"That's why we're determined to join the constitution-writing panel," he added, "especially since no other Islamist party is represented."
The Salafist party supported an army-imposed roadmap under which Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was deposed on July 3 following mass protests against his presidency.
Under the roadmap, the constitution approved last year via popular referendum was suspended, while Adly Mansour, head of Egypt's constitutional court, was made interim president.