CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION STATUS
Sunni Muslims account for 90% of Egypt’s total population, with Christians making up 9% and the remainder consisting of religious minorities such as Baha’is, Shiite, and Sufi Muslims. Islam was declared the state religion in 1980, but Article 46 of the Egyptian constitution notes that the state shall not interfere in or disrupt the religious beliefs of their people, essentially granting religious freedom. In 2006, former President Mubarak amended the constitution to forbid the formation of political movements based on religion alone to prevent “religious terrorism.” New believers are not allowed to change their religious status on their state-issued identity cards despite security risks.
Despite the substantial number of Coptic Christians in Egypt, there have been numerous reports of persecution against them in recent years. In the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution, violence against Christians in the country increased dramatically.
Egypt has come under scrutiny for human rights abuses, owing to reports of arbitrary detentions, sentences without trials before military courts, and widespread torture as a method of suppressing political opposition. Egypt also faces problems with illicit drug trafficking, being the region’s largest supplier of cannabis, heroin, and opium to Europe.
The literacy rate for those age 15 and older is just over 80% of the population (CIA World Factbook). Press censorship is common. According to surveys carried out in 2016, 7.7% of Egypt’s population regularly watches SAT-7 (SAT-7 Viewer Statistics Report 2016).
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