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Egyptian minorities oppose constitutional referendum - Daily News Egypt

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Egyptian minorities oppose constitutional referendum

Egypt’s Nubians and Shi’a Muslims do not feel the constitution represents them

Shi’a Muslims and Nubians, two of Egypt’s minority groups, feel the draft constitution does not represent them.

Baha’ Anwar, a spokesperson for Egyptian Shi’as, said they rejected the anticipated results of the referendum because of reported electoral violations.

Anwar added that Shi’as also reject the draft constitution because the Constituent Assembly which drafted it was not representative of all factions of society.

“It does not represent women, Christians, millions of Sufis and three million Shi’a,” he said.

He added that Shi’as are boycotting the referendum because they do not want to give the process legitimacy and because they expect the results to be forged.

“It is a group decision,” Anwar said.

Mounir Bashir, the head of the Nubian Lawyers’ Association, took issue with the Constituent Assembly. “As Nubians, we do not feel that we were represented in it,” he said.

As of April 2011, the Nubian population in Egypt was 200,000.

He added that the constitution and the referendum were not the end point for Nubian rights.

“The real game is about the legislative councils, the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council,” he said.

“Whether the result is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will not matter,” he said. He explained that most of the articles of the constitution are open to legal interpretation.

Bashir said the constitution could be amended by legislative bodies but in order to change it civil society groups have to start organising for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Bashir said he worried that otherwise Islamists would win a sweeping victory like the last parliamentary election.

“Non-Islamists parties will be surprised when the elections start…the Islamists are prepared,” he said.

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