CAIRO - Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has appealed to Egypt's political rivals to close ranks to resolve a lingering crisis over drafting the country's new constitution.
"I call on all political trends in Egypt, whether Islamists, liberals, or nationalists, to cooperate together on all issues, including the constitution drafting," Qaradawi said in a message obtained by OnIslam.net on Wednesday, April 4.
"I call on the majority and minority to show flexibility and widen the scope of participation in the panel to include all trends," added the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
"We all shoulder a historic responsibility toward this country."
A 100-member panel tasked with drafting Egypt's new constitution has been hit by walkouts since it was formed last month.
Liberals have accused Islamists, who have the majority of seats in Egypt's parliament, of dominating the panel.
But the Muslim Brotherhood, which has most seats in both house of parliament, has denied the accusation, saying the panel contains only 48 Islamists, 36 from parliament and 12 from outside.
So far, around 30 members of the assembly have withdrawn, including Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world.
Representatives of the Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches and the Constitutional Court also walked out from the panel.
Efforts by Brotherhood leaders to bring back those who have withdrawn have failed amid accusations from their opponents that many more members have Islamist leanings and that candidates' selection was based on loyalty, not expertise.
Thirty political and labor groups have called for mass protests on April 23, the day a court is due to decide if the assembly was correctly formed.
Qaradawi appealed to Egyptians to join hands to cruise the country from the current crisis.
"I call on all wise people in this homeland as well as scholars and intellectuals to play a role to bridge the gap between different views and cruise the country out of the surrounding dangers," he said.
The Egyptian-born scholar also called on candidates seeking Egypt's presidency to work for serving the country's interest and the cause of Islam.
"I call on them to work for Islam and for Egypt," the prominent scholar said in his message.
"I also urge them to leave a room for wise men to draft a charter of ethics that wins respect from all."
A host of candidates are vying for Egypt's presidential election, set to start in May.
Leading among runners are former Arab League chief Amr Mussa, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat Al-Shater and former Brotherhood leader Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futuh.
"I applaud the respectful behavior of the presidential candidate and their responsible statements," Qaradawi said.
The eminent scholar appealed to presidential aspirants not to be dragged into divisions by sedition-mongers."We all should work to serve the interest of our homeland and realize the dangerous phase facing Egypt and the Muslim world."