Egypt's Constitutional Clash: Liberals vs. Islamists (VIDEO)

10/25/2012 04:00 pm ET | Updated Dec 25, 2012

If you thought Egypt's revolution was chaotic, than you haven't been following its constitutional process, which is all the more confusing.

Battles once predominantly fought in the streets during the days of the revolution have now evolved into a more fundamental battle -- one of identity.

The stakes are high, as secular and liberal groups clash with Islamists who they claim are hijacking the political process and making amendments to solidify strict interpretation of Islam.

The conflict in drafting the constitution has centered around cultural and social issues rather than the actual functioning of the Egyptian government.

Islamists say the changes they are proposing are very limited when it comes to defining the relationship between Islam and the constitution, especially when compared with the constitution that was drafted in 1971.

According to the 1971 constitution, "Article 2" explicitly states that Islam is the state religion, Arabic the state language, and "the principles of sharia are the main basis for legislation."

Liberals seem to have accepted this because the "principles" are not fixed or explicitly defined. But the Salafists, Egypt's ultra-conservative political group, want to replace the Arabic word for principles -- "Mabaadi", to rulings or "ahkaam".

The Muslim Brotherhood, which is presumably trying to find common ground between the polarized parties, seem prepared to preserve the word "principles".

The constitutional process is critical as it is likely outlast the parliament and the president. Some politicians have even tried to include amendments to make it impossible to change the constitution for the first five years.

Some say the process wasn't transparent enough, while others say it has been too transparent, as partial drafts have been leaked only adding confusion to the chaos.

To make sense of it all, I was joined by Adel Iskandar, professor of Communications at Georgetown University, Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and Sharif Kouddous, an independent journalist based in Cairo and a fellow at The Nation Institute to dissect the challenges facing Egypt.

Watch highlights from the conversation below:

Watch the full conversation here.