Egyptians returned to the polls today to cast their votes on a new constitution, after a first round of voting one week ago produced a comfortable “yes” vote. Today’s vote also looks to be a comfortable victory for the Muslim Brotherhood — a bit too comfortable to be believed, according to many.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was instrumental in the release of former Marine Jon Hammar from a Mexican prison, issued a cautionary statement today.
Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government will be claiming a victory after this Saturday’s referendum on Egypt’s new constitution. However, the stark reality is that this is a defeat for the Egyptian people. We must not forget that this new constitution not only fails to protect many Egyptians, but also fails to meet international standards for protecting basic human rights. In his attempt to solidify power, Morsi excluded the opposition parties and religious and ethnic minority groups from the drafting process. The Muslim Brotherhood-led government was then able to integrate sharia law into key aspects of the constitution, omitting pivotal protections for ethnic and religious minorities.
Put another way: