POPULATION83,688,164 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA$6,600 (2011 est.)
RELIGIONSMuslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%
ALSO IN MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AND THE CAUCASUSAlgeria
AT THE CENTER
The intersection of religion and politics in Egypt has been characterized by both gradual change and revolutionary rupture. Islam arrived in the 7th century CE, and Egypt emerged as a center of politics and culture in the Muslim world. British control during the late 19th and early 20th centuries allowed local and European intellectual traditions to mingle, contributing to the establishment of a nationalist, secular regime in the 1952 Revolution. Though Islam became the official state religion in 1971, Egyptian presidents largely continued to rule as they saw fit. In 2011, a popular revolution involving secular and religious actors ended 30 years of rule by Hosni Mubarak (1981-2011). The Muslim Brotherhood, which had previously been banned as a political party, won a majority of seats in the post-Revolution parliamentary elections, and the group’s political leader, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president. The Constitution grants freedom of religion, but authorities often restrict it in practice. Among those most directly affected are Coptic Christians, approximately 10% of the population.