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Egypt

Religious Freedom in the Wake of the Arab Spring

Despite the solidarity Egyptians displayed in the Tahrir Square protests that sparked the Arab Spring, subsequent months have witnessed a dangerous increase in violence against religious minorities, especially the Coptic Christian community. As Egypt, Tunisia, and now Libya seek to construct new democratic governments, their respective approaches to religion-state issues will be critical to their success. Can these and other democratic aspirants in the region hope for stability without granting religious freedom to all their citizens? Or is the notion of religious freedom a Western concept, inapplicable to countries with different histories and cultures?

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Publication

Citizens or Martyrs?  The Uncertain Fate of Christians in the Arab Spring

Citizens or Martyrs? The Uncertain Fate of Christians in the Arab Spring

2011
A tense subplot of the Arab Spring is the increasing endangerment of the region’s Christians. In Egypt, Coptic Christians, 10% of the population, have been attacked repeatedly by Salafist Muslims unleashed – many literally released from prison -- by the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. No wonder...

Event

What's So Special About Religious Freedom?

What's So Special About Religious Freedom?

November 17, 2011
Religious freedom has been called America’s “first freedom.” But does it warrant such a special status? What, if anything, distinguishes religious freedom from other protected rights like the freedom of speech or assembly? Is religious freedom a right that stands on its own, or is it a subset of...

Scholar Essays

Daniel Philpott on Islam: A Friend or Foe of Democracy in the New Egypt?

Daniel Philpott on Islam: A Friend or Foe of Democracy in the New Egypt?

June 3, 2011
Will Islam impel or impede democracy in Egypt? There is probably no question whose answer is less clear and more hotly debated than this one in the context of Egypt’s current transition. It is worth remembering that, especially in the Islamic world, democratic institutions that involve elections...

Monica Duffy Toft on Three Models of Religious Freedom for the New Egypt

Monica Duffy Toft on Three Models of Religious Freedom for the New Egypt

June 3, 2011
As the heady days of public demonstrations fade into history, key questions about Egypt’s future remain. Will Egypt move towards a more open democratic system? Will the rights of religious minorities (e.g. atheists, Copts, non-Muslims, secularists) be respected? Or, will Egypt move toward a...

Roger Trigg on Religious Freedom in Egypt

Roger Trigg on Religious Freedom in Egypt

June 3, 2011
As Egypt moves towards democracy, the issue of religious freedom is of central importance. Such freedom has to be at the root of all democracy. If individuals are not free to hold or put into practice beliefs about what is most important in life, and what is most worth pursuing, they cannot...

Timothy Samuel Shah on a Fully Free Egypt

Timothy Samuel Shah on a Fully Free Egypt

June 3, 2011
There will be no moving toward a truly free and stable democracy in Egypt unless Egypt also moves toward religious freedom. But what does it mean to insist that Egypt move to respect religious freedom in its current political transition? On May 19, 2011, President Obama—to his credit—talked...

William Inboden on US Religious Freedom Policy in the New Egypt

William Inboden on US Religious Freedom Policy in the New Egypt

June 3, 2011
The Obama Administration’s challenges in responding to the Arab Spring fall into two categories. The first is developing an actual region-wide strategy for these unprecedented upheavals. The Administration’s responses to the convulsions thus far can charitably be described as ad hoc and reactive....