Posted on August 07, 2012 in Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact Omar Tewfik
(202) 652-4988
August 7, 2012

U.S. Muslim, Christian Leaders Issue Statement Urging Writers of The New Egyptian Constitution
to Support Equal Rights for all Citizens 

Today the Arab American Institute (AAI) releases a statement co-endorsed by leaders of the American Muslim and Coptic Christian communities. The statement, organized by AAI, is supported by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), longest serving Arab American member of Congress and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first American Muslim member of Congress. What prompted the statement was the group’s concern with the drafting of the new Egyptian Constitution. "Just as we have stood together to combat religious and ethnic intolerance in America, we are unified in our support for equal rights for all across the Arab World," said AAI president Jim Zogby. "This is especially important now as Egypt is writing its Constitution."

A Statement on Human Rights in Egypt:

We are writing to those who are charged with crafting the new Constitution for Egypt.

We urge the writers of this important document that will define the character of the country for future generations to recognize the equality of all Egyptians and to reject any language that would discriminate against any citizen of Egypt on the basis of that citizen’s religion or gender. We further call on them to reject any attempt to include language in the Egyptian Constitution providing that “the commandments of Sharia”[1] are to become the primary source of legislation in a country that is home to millions of Christians. The existing Constitution's language[2] better represents the diversity of Egyptian society and should be retained.

As leaders of our communities in North America, it is our hope and prayer that the new Constitution of Egypt will reflect the principles articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in 1948.


-The Honorable Nick Rahall (D-WV)

-The Honorable Keith Ellison (D-MN)

-Hegomen Moises Bogdady, Senior Priest at the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, Cedar Grove, NJ

-Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America

-Father Michael Sorial, Director of Public Relations for the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, Priest at St. Mary & St.  Antonios Coptic Orthodox Church, Queens, NY

-Salam al Maryati, Executive Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council

-Maya Berry, Executive Director, Arab American Institute

-Mohammed El Sanousi, Director of Community Outreach, Islamic Society of North America

-Mark Salah Morgan, Coptic Lawyers Association

-Dr. James J. Zogby, President, Arab American Institute

[1] Language reportedly advocated for by Salafi members of parliament.

[2] “ Islamic law (Sharia) is the principal source of legislation.” Article 2, Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, 1971