Last night FDA auditors met to audit electoral fairness in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak.
The audit reached a point of contention from Article 3 of Law No.40 of the year 1977 Concerning the Political Parties System and its Amendments, which states,
"The state bans political parties which are based on religious, class, sectarian, categorical, or geographical basis, or on the exploitation of religious feelings, or discrimination because of race, origin, or creed."
FDA auditor #1 viewed Article 3 as fair, because religious based parties should not be part of democracy, because they are based on membership and thereby exclusionary.
Other auditors #2 viewed Article 3 as unfair, because it limits the electoral choice of the people and excludes political parties from the electoral process. Viz., the will of the people should be the ultimate decider of who governs society. If the will of the people wants a religious based party then that should not be circumvented.
Auditor #1 replied that religious based parties would lead to tyranny of the majority, and they would use religion as the sole basis for moral and ethical decisions and thereby discriminate against other religious groups and non-religious groups.
Auditors #2 responded that the Constitution and any bill of rights of the country are in place, in part, to protect minority interests. Also, the moral and ethical codes of a society are subjective whether they are religious based or not, and that many secular moral and ethical codes have their roots in religion.
If a religious based party respects the Constitution and fundamental human rights then why should the religious party be disallowed the opportunity of governing society?
In the case of Egypt, it states clearly in the Constitution that the country is Islamic:
Islam is the religion of the State and Arabic its official language.
Islamic law (Sharia) is the principal source of legislation. (Source: Egypt Constitution of 1971, Amended 2007)
Why is it fair for Egypt (under Mubarak) to ban religious based parties?