Religious Minorities in Egypt Unrecognized

06/13/2021 Egypt (International Christian Concern) –  Unrecognized religious minorities in Egypt face additional restrictions on daily life, including freedom of religion, belief, opinion and expression. Unrecognized religious minorities face daily monitoring of their religious activities.

Egypt officially recognizes the three Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Citizens may not choose any other religion than these, including some sects of the three faiths. However, Egypt’s constitution is also set up for Islam to be the state religion. Therefore, the main source of law and legislation is Islamic law, as set out by the official religious institution, Al-Azhar. Article 7 indicates that this is the sole and exclusive interpretation, and is often used to accuse citizens not adhering to the doctrine.

Article 64 of Egypt’s constitution ensures freedom of belief. However, it is limited in that it only guarantees freedom of belief to the three Abrahamic faiths, and it regulates places of worship. Therefore, the practice of worship and building places of worship are susceptible to restrictions if permits are not allowed. As a result, unrecognized religious minorities are scrutinized for any religious gathering, questioned, unable to perform marriage ceremonies as ordained by their faith, or bury their dead in allocated land.

These unrecognized religious minorities include the Baha’i faith and Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, the restriction on more “fringe” religious groups, can cause heightened tensions even for the recognized Christian groups that still face persecution.

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