Religious Minorities and Freedom of Religion

Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with small numbers of Shiites. Among Sunnis, there are considerable
numbers of Salafists and Sufis.There are three main Christian religious groups/communities that are recognized in Egypt. Each community comprises different denominations or rites. These are: The Orthodox Community, including Coptic, Greek, Armenian, and Syrian denominations; The Catholic community, including
Coptic, Greek, Armenian, Syrian, Maronite, Chaldean, and Latin denominations; and the the Protestant community, which include many denominations all considered as belonging to the same religious community.There are also two Jewish communities, the Qaraitic and Rabanic, as well as a community of Baha’is.

The percentages of the different adherent of different religions are a debated topic, and there are no official government statistics readily available. Estimates of the percentage of Christians range from 10%-15%.
But some estimates put them at lower levels, such as 5-6%. The percentage of Muslims is estimated at about 90%.

In spite of incidents of popular violence against Copts, the relationship between the Coptic Church and the Mubarak regime was close. How the relationship between the government and the Church will develop remains to be seen. On a legal front, despite some controversy over religious identity on national identification cards, persons in Egypt are free to adopt any or no religious identity. On the cultural front, it is not uncommon that changes in religion, particularly on the part of high profile individuals, be met with violence. On the whole, violence against religious minorities in Egypt, primarily Copts and Shi’i, has become increasingly prominent, exacerbated by the rhetoric of Safafis proponents. The Mubarak regime had been widely accused of turning a blind eye to perpetrators of religious violence in order to appeasing the more radical elements society. Despite wide cooperation between Copts and Muslims during the 2011 revolution, the months after the revolution have seen some instances of sectarian violence.  This section of the profile looks at some of these issues, as well as questions of religious freedom and apostasy.

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