Freedom of Religion and Belief in Egypt

Third Quarterly Report

(July - September 2008)

(for a PDF copy press here)


Samalut's Sectarian Violence:

Fighting Impunity is the Only Way to Reconciliation

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today released the preliminary findings of its inquiry into the sectarian violence that took place in the village of Al-Tayeba, located in the Samalut district of Al-Minya Governorate, on Friday, 3 October. The violence left one dead and four injured and involved arson and the destruction of homes, land and property.

Egyptian Court Gives Christian Boys to Muslim Father

Despite a fatwa from the Grand Mufti, Alexandria judge denies custody for mother.

By Damaris Kremida

ISTANBUL, October 2 (Compass Direct News) – Following the Appeal Court of Alexandria on Sept. 24 granting custody of 13-year-old Christian twins to their Muslim father, their mother lives with the fear that police will take away her children at any moment.  Kamilia Gaballah has fought with her ex-husband Medhat Ramses Labib over alimony support and custody of sons Andrew and Mario in 40 different cases since he left her and converted to Islam so that he could remarry in 1999. 

abufana csw ucgb

Press on the image to read the condemning report of CSW fact finding mission to Abu Fana 

us dept. uinted copts 


International Religious Freedom Report 2008
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Constitution provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites, although the Government places restrictions on these rights in practice. Islam is the official state religion, and Shari'a (Islamic law) is the primary source of legislation.

Hegazy's Briefing


Saudi Arabia: Stop Trials for ‘Insulting’ Islam

Charges Violate Precepts of Law, Freedom of Expression     arabic 

(New York, May 13, 2008) – Courts in Jeddah should dismiss cases against a Saudi web critic and a Turkish barber charged with “insulting” Islam, an unequivocal violation of freedom of expression protected under international law, Human Rights Watch said today.





MAY 2008

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

800 North Capitol Street, NW

Suite 790

Washington, DC 20002


202-523-5020 (fax)


CSW Report 29 April 2008



Apostasy is the renunciation of religious faith, and apostasy from Islam in particular has always been a contentious issue. Although the Qur’an does not prescribe a temporal punishment for apostasy, the vast majority of traditional Islamic theology and jurisprudence has advocated the death penalty for a mentally sane male apostate and life-long imprisonment or harsh treatment for a female apostate. Proponents of the death penalty have legitimised their stance from the sayings and deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, his companions and subsequent caliphs.

US State Department report on Human Rights  


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - Link 2007
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 11, 2008

The National Democratic Party (NDP) has governed the Arab Republic of Egypt, with a population of approximately 79 million, since the party's establishment in 1978. The NDP, which continued to dominate national politics by maintaining an overriding majority in the popularly elected People's Assembly and the partially elected Shura (Consultative) Council, derives its governing authority from the 1971 constitution and subsequent amendments. Executive authority resides with the president and the cabinet. In 2005 President Hosni Mubarak won a fifth six-year term with 88 percent of the vote in the country's first presidential election, a landmark event that was marred by low voter turnout and charges of fraud. The civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, which committed numerous, serious abuses of human rights.

European Parliament resolution of 15 November 2007

 on serious events which compromise Christian communities' existence and those of other religious communities


The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948,



Press Release- 12 November 2007

Egypt: Allow Citizens to List Actual Religion on ID Cards  

End Discrimination, Harassment of Baha’is, Converts From Islam

(Cairo, November 12, 2007) – Egypt should allow all citizens to use their actual religious identity when required to list religion on government documents, Human Rights Watch and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said today. The government’s discriminatory practice of restricting identity to three religions, directed at Baha’is and preventing converts from Islam from listing their true belief, violate many rights and cause immense hardship.



International Religious Freedom Report 2007
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Constitution provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites, although the Government places restrictions on these rights in practice. Islam is the official state religion and Shari'a (Islamic law) is the primary source of legislation; religious practices that conflict with the Government's interpretation of Shari'a are prohibited. Members of non-Muslim religious minorities officially recognized by the Government generally worship without harassment and maintain links with coreligionists in other countries; however, members of religious groups that are not recognized by the Government, particularly the Baha'i Faith, experience personal and collective hardship.

'Christian' nations more free, report says

WASHINGTON (BP)—Countries with Christian roots are the most religiously free domains in the world, according to the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute in a forthcoming report.

The Application of the Apostasy Law in the World Today:

"We always remind those who want to convert to Islam that they enter through a door but there is no way out".[1]
Since modernization first impacted the Muslim world following Western imperialism and its imposition of secular laws and education systems, there have been tensions between Muslim conservatives and liberal intellectuals. Early reformers tried to reconcile Islam with modernity using the flexible principles of reason and the public good to reinterpret shari'ah along modern lines. Contemporary liberals argue that shari'ah laws are human interpretations of the eternally fixed principles of Islam, so they can be changed to fit modern contexts. It is only the basic principles that are immutable.

USCRIF Report about Egypt 2007


Serious problems of discrimination, intolerance, and other human rights violations against members of religious minorities, as well as non-conforming Muslims, remain widespread in Egypt. Over the past few years, the Egyptian government has adopted several measures toacknowledge the religious pluralism of Egypt’s society, including increased efforts in promoting interfaith activity. Yet the government has not taken sufficient steps to halt repression of and discrimination against religious believers, including the indigenous Coptic Orthodox Christians,or, in many cases, to punish those responsible for violence or other severe violations of religiousfreedom.




Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007


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