2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: Egypt

The constitution states that “freedom of belief is absolute” and “the freedom of practicing religious rituals and establishing worship places for the followers of divine (i.e. Abrahamic) religions is a right regulated by law.”  The constitution states that citizens “are equal before the Law,” and criminalizes discrimination and “incitement to hatred” based upon “religion, belief, sex, origin, race…or any other reason.”  The constitution also states, “Islam is the religion of the state…and the principles of Islamic sharia are the main sources of legislation.”  The government officially recognizes Sunni Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and allows only their adherents to publicly practice their religion and build houses of worship.  

The Bishop of Truro’s independent review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO support for persecuted Christians final report was published yesterday.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “When Islamist terrorists struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing over 250 people, this was the third Easter in a row disfigured by a terrorist attack somewhere in the world. And these attacks stand alongside the equally appalling attacks on worshippers in mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand, reminding us how people across the world, of all faiths are still in this, the 21st century, being murdered for their religion. So I warmly welcome this report and its recommendations. We are working across Government to agree a formal collective response as soon as possible.”

"In the light of the vast scale of the problem of Christian persecution and the variable support provided across the FCO Network the Independent Review team urge the Foreign Secretary to ensure that a follow-up independent mechanism is established in three years’ time to ensure that the FCO Network has implemented in full the recommendations of this Final Report in support of vulnerable Christian communities, and the exercise and protection of their inalienable rights under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration. This is not only for the sake of the followers of Jesus Christ, but because, like the ‘canary in the mine’, they point to the needs and freedoms of all." (Conclusion, p125)

The Recommendations in full
The Report in full
The Foreign Secretary's speech at the launch

In general the authorities have failed to prosecute those who attack Christians and have instead enforced state-sponsored reconciliation agreements which provide impunity for the perpetrators and leave Christians vulnerable to future attacks.



Full Report

Christian Minority

82.    Egypt is home to the largest Christian community in the Arab world. The Special Rapporteur interviewed Coptic Egyptians forced to leave their homes and villages in Upper Egypt after community conflicts with Muslim neighbours. Forced evictions of Coptic families were also reported in Basra village, Ameriya/Alexandria, in Tud/Luxor, in Shebin al- Qanatir/Qulubiya, and in Maiana Bahnasia and Kafr Darwish/Beni Suef.

83.    The Special Rapporteur learned that in some instances forced evictions were ordered by community reconciliation mechanisms that serve as dispute resolution tools. However, these reconciliation mechanisms do not necessarily ensure a fair hearing for members of minorities, nor are their rulings always in conformity with national or international human rights law. State officials have been present at some community reconciliation sessions, but reportedly have failed to intervene when rulings legitimised the arbitrary expulsion of Coptic families from their homes and sometimes expressed public support for such decisions. Official judicial bodies have also failed to provide legal protection against community reconciliation decisions and law enforcement authorities have, in several instances, refused to provide security to those who wanted to return to their homes. 

A nun cries as she stands at the scene inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral,

following a bombing, in Egypt December 11, 2016.

Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh



President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the leader of Egypt.



10 million Christians live in Egypt, making up 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 99.4 million. That might sound like a small proportion, but Egypt is home to half of all Christians in the Middle East.


Egypt is a strongly Islamic nation. Just under 90 per cent of the population of Egypt are Sunni Muslims.

Al-Azhar University in Cairo is considered to be the oldest and the most prestigious centre of advanced Islamic studies among Sunni Muslims and attracts students from all over the Middle East. President al-Sisi has called upon scholars at the university to fight radicalism and introduce reforms in Islamic teaching. However, in rural and impoverished areas in particular, radical imams and less tolerant brands of Islam are growing in prominence. The government is making efforts to reverse this trend, but has not been very successful so far.

SCW Egypt report


Commentary on the current state of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Egypt

All Party Parliamentary Group, House of Commons UK



This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. All-Party Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this report are those of the Groups.

Bombing of schools by Saudi Arabia-led coalition a flagrant attack on future of Yemen’s children

11 December 2015, 00:01 UTC

Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces have carried out a series of air strikes targeting schools that were still in use, in violation of international humanitarian law, and hampering access to education for thousands of Yemen’s children, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today. The coalition forces are armed by states including the USA and UK.

A report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-2015.

Christians – already the world's most persecuted faith – are suffering worse persecution, violence and intimidation.

In 20 of the 30 countries assessed, the situation has worsened since 2011. In others where the problems were already extreme, there has been little or no change. In some countries Christianity now risks being wiped out, and oppression and exodus threaten Christianity's status as a worldwide religion.

On these pages you can see, at a glance, the key findings of our new Persecuted and Forgotten? report, as well as browsing our detailed country profiles and incident reports in more depth.

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