Post-Revolutionary Islamism and the Future of Democracy and Human Rights in Egypt

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Abadir M. Ibrahim

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Abstract

From the backwaters of stagnation in democratization, the Arab Spring countries carried the day and became trailblazers to be replicated by activists all over the world. A couple of seasons after the initial revolution/revolt, Egyptians had transformed their political system, written themselves a constitution, and apparently destroyed the same constitution. While all sectors of society played a role in shaping the revolution, the latter has also affected society. Egypt’s 2012 constitution, one of the outcomes of the revolution, captures a moment in the process and also reflects an attempt to install an Islamist ideology in a constitutional democratic form. The constitution’s attempt to negotiate between Shari‘ah and democracy and its outline of a human rights regime make the future of democracy and human rights ambiguous, as the Islamist stance promulgated has yet to be tested in the real world of politics. As it stands today, the constitution is too ambiguous to allow one to draw a clear picture of the future of constitutional practice. What is clear, however, is that the revolution and subsequent constitution have affected the Islamist discourse about democracy and human rights.

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