Irreligion in Egypt
|Religion in Egypt|
|Religions in Egypt|
Unrecognized religions |
Irreligion in Egypt is controversial due to the largely conservative nature of the country. It is difficult to quantify the number of atheists or agnostics in Egypt, as the stigma attached to being one makes it hard for irreligious Egyptians to publicly profess their views. Furthermore, public statements that can be deemed critical of Islam or Christianity can be tried under the country's notorious blasphemy law. Outspoken atheists, like Alber Saber, have been convicted under this law. These types of crime in Egypt hold a status similar to Antragsdelikt, legal proceedings only occur if a citizen takes the step of suing the person engaging in blasphemy, and cases are not initiated by the general prosecutor.
The number of atheists is reportedly on the rise among the country's youth, many of whom organize and communicate with each other on the internet. In 2013 an Egyptian newspaper reported that 3 million out of 84 million Egyptians are atheists. While the government has acknowledged this trend, it has dealt with it as a problem that needs to be confronted, comparing it to religious extremism. In 2014 the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Awqaf announced a joint strategy to combat the spread of "harmful ideas" among the nation's youth, namely atheism and religious extremism. In December 2014 Dar al-Ifta, a government-affiliated Islamic centre of education and jurisprudence, claimed that there are 866 atheists in Egypt, a figure which amounts to 0.001% of the population and was called by The Guardian "suspiciously precise". Despite hostile sentiments towards them atheists in Egypt have become increasingly vocal on internet platforms like YouTube and Facebook since the Egyptian revolution of 2011, with some videos discussing atheist topics receiving millions of views.
In a 2011 Pew Research poll of 1,798 Muslims in Egypt, 63% of those surveyed supported "the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion." However, no such punishment actually exists in the country. In January 2018 the head of the parliament's religious committee, Amr Hamroush, suggested a bill to make atheism illegal, stating that "it [atheism] must be criminalised and categorised as contempt of religion because atheists have no doctrine and try to insult the Abrahamic religions".
Atheists or irreligious people cannot change their official religious status, thus statistically they are counted as followers of the religion they were born with.
On July 2015, it was announced by Pope Tawadros II that a global survey to understand why some youth leave the church would be carried out. The results were not published, however, it was estimated that 70% of the youth stop attending the Evangelical church.
The Egyptian Council of Churches, of which the Coptic Orthodox Church is a member, along with other Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Egyptian churches, had plans to confront atheism in Egypt, by questioning Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and planning establishments of interfaith committees involving churches and mosques, with the aim of controlling and confronting atheism among members of both faiths.
Currently, atheist and apostate Copts are limited to congregating on online forums out of a fear of retribution from the larger community.
List of non-religious Egyptians
- Hamed Abdel-Samad
- Adam Elmasri
- Ismail Adham
- Kareem Amer
- Youssef Chahine
- Aliaa Magda Elmahdy
- Sherif Gaber
- Ahmed Harkan
- Ismail Mohamed
- Nawal El Saadawi
- Alber Saber
- Maikel Nabil Sanad
- Religion in Egypt
- Secularism in Egypt
- Freedom of religion in Egypt
- Christianity in Egypt
- Islam in Egypt
- Demographics of Egypt
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