83,688,164 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA
$6,600 (2011 est.)
Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%
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.
April 17, 2011
Authors Monica Duffy Toft, Timothy Shah, and Daniel Philpott criticize secularization theory’s hold on America’s foreign-policy establishment, especially in light of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the possible ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The writers suggest that secularism is a poor analytical tool, and it has proven unable to predict the resurgence of religion’s influence. To explain religion’s resurgence, Toft and Shah point to the processes of modernization,...
November 1, 2008
In First Things, Thomas F. Farr writes, "The difficult task of containing radical Islam requires altering the theological dynamic that sustains it, a task that can be accomplished only by Muslims themselves. External actors can have an influence on this process, but no agenda is likely to succeed if it ignores the theologies that drive political culture in the lands of Islamtheologies that already provide the poison that sustains radicalism, and must provide its antidote as well. In short,...
March 1, 2008
December 1, 2007
, March/April 2008
Thomas F. Farr
The United States is a religious nation, but neither scholars of U.S. foreign policy nor its practitioners have taken religion very seriously. From the inception of international relations as a discrete discipline, its approach has been defined by the seventeenth-century Westphalian subordination of religion to the state. Consequently, as the international relations scholar Daniel Philpott has observed, most in the field have simply "assumed...
November 1, 2002
In December 2007, an initial cohort of participants in Berkley Center's Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN) presented reflections on their time spent living and studying around the world. As JYAN participants, students immerse themselves in diverse settings from England to Egypt to China and write several letters from abroad dealing with questions of religion, culture, and politics in a different part of the world. The letters are posted as a running conversation on a dedicated Berkley Center...
Mobilizing Islam examines the complex questions posed by the rise of religious activism in Egypt. Combining thorough empirical investigation with theoretical insights from social movement theory, the book provides a balanced overview of the roots of Islamic mobilization and its interaction with other institutions, particularly the authoritarian state. It traces the development of Islamic activism since the Presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser, focusing on the emergence of a "parallel sector" of...
January 1, 1995
In Feminists, Islam, and Nation, Margot Badran examines the emergence and development of the feminist movement in Egypt from the late 19th century to the Revolution of 1952. The book is divided chronologically into three sections. The first examines the origins of gender consciousness among Egyptian women; the second, which constitutes the core of the book, focuses on the formation of the Egyptian Feminist Union (EFU) in the 1920s; and the third chronicles the development of pan-Arab...
January 1, 1969
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the first substantial English-language study of the Muslim Brotherhood, and despite its age remains a landmark piece of scholarship on the group. The book traces the Brotherhood's development from its establishment by Hassan Al-Banna, through its rise in Egypt's tumultuous 1930s, to its complex and often strained relationship with the post-1952 government of Gamal Abdel Nasser. It also provides a detailed overview of the group's early organization and...