Western democracy has Judeo-Christian underpinnings. At its core is the equal dignity of every person. This sacred commitment, ironically, enables our bedrock secular guarantee: freedom of conscience. It is anathema to the Brotherhood. As their guiding jurist, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, teaches: “Secularism can never enjoy general acceptance in an Islamic society.” This is because “the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of sharia.”…

The draft constitution the Brothers are currently trying to force on Egyptians elucidates their idea of the “basis of Islam” to which people must be subjugated. The Hudson Institute’s Samuel Tadros expertly analyzed it this week on the Corner. The Brothers make the “principles of sharia” the cornerstone of law; squelch authentic moderate reformers by stipulating that “principles” are limited to the four established Sunni jurisprudential schools (which consider all questions to have been settled by the tenth century); and vest in the fundamentalist scholars of ancient al-Azhar University a dispositive role in interpreting sharia — similar to the mullahs of Shiite Iran.

There is more. The new constitution tellingly strikes the old constitution’s reference to “citizenship” — a term that implied equality between Muslims and non-Muslims — as the basis for Egypt’s political order. It empowers the Islamist state to “entrench . . . moral values” in society by enforcing the Islamist ideal of “family values.” It denies freedom of conscience by refusing many religious minorities the right to worship. Although Christianity is not outlawed, the finances of Christian churches are placed under government control — enabling the creation of a Communist-style national church, subject to Islamist domination. It denies freedom of expression by adopting sharia’s repressive blasphemy laws, under which any criticism of Islam is brutally punished. It deletes the former constitution’s express guarantee of equality for women “in the fields of political, social, cultural, and economic life.”