Christians on panel rewriting Egypt's constitution threaten to quit over Islamic law portions

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Christians on a committee rewriting Egypt's constitution have threatened to quit the panel over disputes on portions pertaining to Islamic law in the country.

Egypt's ultraconservative al-Nour Party has pushed adding a portion defining Islamic, or Shariah, law. Critics warn doing so could allow for stricter interpretations of what Shariah is.

Safwat El-Bayadi, a representative of Christians on the panel, said Thursday they might withdraw to "voice our opinion." The Islamist version has yet to come up for a vote, but the Christians fear Islamists might push the issue.

Amending the constitution is the first step in a roadmap adopted by military-backed interim authorities to restart democracy in Egypt. A public referendum on the rewritten constitution is expected to take place a month after they finish a draft.