CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood says Islamic Shariah law must be the basis of Egypt’s new constitution, and legislation must be based on the Islamic penal code.

The Brotherhood said in a statement Wednesday that a country ruled by Shariah would not become a theocracy. President Mohammed Morsi comes from the Brotherhood.

The statement appeared to be an attempt to clarify the group’s position toward the country’s most contentious issue — the extent of Islamic influence in governance and legislation.

The 100-member Islamist-led panel tasked with drafting the new document has been facing heavy criticism, mostly from liberals who fear Islamization of Egypt through its work.

The constitution would be a key definer of Egypt’s government and society after last year’s ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.