Egypt's top Islamic authority hosts talks on constitution

August 17, 2011 22:01

CAIRO - Egypt's prestigious center of Islamic learning, Al-Azhar, hosted Islamists and liberals on Wednesday at talks aimed at agreeing the principles of a new constitution ahead of November elections, but failed to end the differences, analysts said.

Liberals have been calling for 'constitutional principles' to be laid down before the elections to ensure that Islamists would not be able to create an Islamic state if they win a majority in parliament, a fear shared by many Egyptians.

Islamists insist that the constitution must be drafted by the parliament.

Al-Azhar, seeking to broaden its influence after years of control by the regime of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, has drawn up an 11-point document as a proposed basis for the new constitution.

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