Column: Is it Islamists vs. the military?

My latest Masri al-Youm column is out, on the debate over Egypt's constitutional principles:

The constitutional principles were not supposed to be a litmus test about either Islamist or military rule. They were supposed to be a fairly straightforward guarantee that, in religious matters, the next constitution would retain the same recognition of Egypt's majority Muslim identity that has existed for decades, the same protection for religious minorities (including family law according to sect), but with a greater emphasis on human rights and safeguards against an imbalance of power between the branches of government. Aside from the Salafists who like the idea of an explicitly Islamic state, none of this is controversial. The real debate was about the process through which the principles would be drafted, and whether the SCAF would take advantage of the secular-Islamist divide to impose its own agenda on what was supposed to be a strictly civilian debate.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,