December 29, 2012 | Posted by admin

Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo December 25, 2012, in this handout photo released by Egyptian Presidency office. (Reuters)

This is in reference to the article, “Mursi treads a difficult path,” by Osama Al Sharif (Dec. 26). It is true that the Egyptians are tired, divided and confused and the biggest challenge for President Muhammad Mursi and his unpopular government today is the state of economy.
Despite calls by President Mursi to “begin building our country’s rebirth with free will…men, women, Muslims and Christians,” Egyptians have never been so divided on the issue of freedom from authoritarian rule — the fundamental pillar of the “Egyptian Spring” that had toppled the Mubarak regime.
The referendum that was won by Brotherhood brought to light some interesting facts. According to the Egyptian Election Commission, while 60 percent of the people who voted for the constitution, 36 percent were against. But the turnout was a mere 30 percent.
Today, Egypt is a nation divided. The main opposition to the new constitution is based on the argument that the Shariah remains the main source of legislation. Although the new constitution has embedded in it rights of all religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam to be protected by State, fears abound that the document will be used to favor conservatives, and adversely affect women’s rights. What ought to be remembered is that a people that has experienced such a major political upheaval recently, a revolution that brought the country out of a decades-old dictatorial one-party rule will not take matters lying down.
Mursi has his work cut out. What ordinary Egyptians fear most is that the country does not slide back into autocracy. And, with the economy in need of urgent reprieve, it is a tall order, a tightrope that must be carefully navigated by the president-elect if Egypt is to emerge as a nation built on the pillars of democracy. — Naser Mullah, Riyadh