In statements made on Monday, former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa has urged citizens to vote for the constitution, saying that “God will support them.”
God supports those who will vote for the constitution: former grand mufti
Wednesday ,18 December 2013
Using religious themes to influence voters is common in Egypt, with each side often accusing the other of not holding true to Islamic religious values. Gomaa’s comments aim to spiritually encourage voters as well as combat similar religious arguments coming from the Muslim Brotherhood against the constitution.
Gomaa continued, aiming his words to an international audience. “It is ‘yes’ in English for those who do not speak Arabic,” he said. “We want to impress the whole world, East and West.”
The former grand mufti’s comments come at a time when Al-Azhar, along with the interim government, is encouraging citizens to approve the amended 2012 Constitution during the referendum. Approval of the new Constitution would be a big step towards completing the political roadmap laid out at the beginning of the army’s power transfer, which began with the ouster of President Mohamed Morsy, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president.
The new Egyptian interim government is eager to show the world, especially to the West, that it is prepared to push forward with the democratic process and hopefully reestablish itself in the eyes of their critics.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Morsy forces have been urging citizens to boycott the referendum, as they say it merely legitimizes the military “coup.” The group has announced plans to escalate protests during the referendum and possibly organize multiple sit-ins throughout the country.
The pro-Morsy alliance spokesperson Alaa Abu Al-Nasr, however, denies any intentions to promote violent on the day of the constitution. He accused the Internal Ministry of releasing such rumor as a pretext to strengthen security measures on referendum day.
“We want to show those terrorists who we Egyptians are,” Gomaa continued. “We are against corruption, atheism and hypocrisy.”
Interim President Adly Mansour called for the referendum to be held during the two days of 14 and 15 January in one stage throughout Egypt.