Egypt has an estimated population of 84 million. There are 90% Muslims whereas Coptic Christian minority makes about 10% of the Egyptian population.
The number of other minorities is vanishingly small. There are less than 2000 Bahai´s and hardly 200 Jews in the Egypt.
Egypt recognizes three “heavenly” or “divinely revealed” religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Any other faith is not recognized and has no permission to practice.
Egypt became a republic in 1922. Under the Egyptian constitution prior to Egypt becoming a republic the article 2 of the constitution declared Islam as the religion of the state and the principal source of legislation.
Even though the constitution of 1922 promises equality to all citizens as well freedom of religion and beliefs they have not been applied to non-Muslims.
Muslim Brotherhood, the influential religious conservative group which was formed in 1928 has been calling for Sharia, the hardline version of Islam.
The Muslim Brotherhood was banned in 1954 after one of their members tried to assassinate the leader of state Lt. Col. Gamel Abdel Nasser but since the 1970s after Nasser's death the group started gaining popularity gradually.
Muhammed Morsi, took office in June, 2011 after Muslim Brotherhood won general elections in Egypt after the decades long dictatorial rule of Hosni Mubarak who ruled the country with iron hand.
The lower house is the legislative body of Egypt. In the elections of January 2012 the Muslim brotherhood won 70%, other parties achieved 28%. Christians make only 2% of the parliament and hold 11 seats.
Mr Morsi failed to give adequate representation to Egyptian minorities in the upper house of the parliament.
Since parties on religious platforms were prohibited by constitution the Muslim Brotherhood sent their members to run as independents for office.
Courts in Egypt in almost any instance adapted extremely conservative interpretations of Quran and Sharia law. The fact that most laws were phrased very vaguely gave further room for abuse.
In January 2000, 21 Coptic Christians were killed by Muslim extremists in the village of Kosheh during riots, which were the consequence of an ongoing tension between the local Coptic Christian Community and the Muslim Community.
In 2007 Mohammed Hegazy a Christian covert petitioned courts to change the religion entry in his ID issued by Egyptian authorities. He claimed his basic right of freedom of religion. The judge however put emphasis on article 2 of Egypt's constitution and denied the change based on the fact that Sharia law prohibits apostasy.
Hani Nazeer, a Coptic Christian, got imprisoned in 2008 after he linked an image of a book cover, which had been deemed by censors as “insulting Islam”. He never got convicted but it took till 2010 till he got released because security forces appealed against court release orders five times.
On New Year's Eve 2010, 21 people got killed in a bomb blast in a Coptic Church in Alexandria. Even though the incident was internationally recognized there had been no convictions.
In 2012, 8 Coptic Christians were sentenced to death in absentia since they allegedly had links to the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”.
Baha'is in Egypt face worst persecution since their religion is not state approved.
They face permanent police surveillance, their houses are searched periodically and their literature is prohibited and if found taken and destroyed.
Global Minorities Alliance (GMA) urges Muslim Brotherhood to include minorities in all decision and policy making institution including parliament.
Shahid Khan | Google | Global Minorities Alliance
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