90% of the population are Muslims, of whom 99% are Sunnis and 1% are Shiites.
Islam has been the state religion since 1971 (article 2 of the constitution) and according to the constitutional amendment of 1980 Sharia is the basis of the legislation. Formally, there is religious freedom, but the authorities recognize only the three “heavenly religions”: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bahai are not recognized. Atheists are not allowed at all. Although apostasy is not prohibited under Egyptian criminal law, there is a conflict of incompatibility with Article 2 of the Constitution. In January 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to change religions does not apply to Muslim citizens. (BAMF, 2011)
Government agencies and state agencies openly call for marginalization, harassment or incitement to hatred or violence for non-religious people. It is illegal to explicitly register as a humanist, atheist, secularist or other non-religious NGO or other human rights organization.
The Egyptian Penal Code expressly prohibits blasphemy in Article 98. It is embedded in the prohibitions to support “extremist thoughts”, “sedition” or “national prejudices”. Anyone who violates the Abrahamic “Celestial Religions” or “National Unity” may be punished with prison terms of five to six years and / or fines of up to LE 1,000. In addition violation of religious symbols is punishable by up to five years in prison and / or fines of up to € 500 (Article 160). The spread of atheism in word, writing or other is punishable by punishments of up to five years imprisonment.
In October 2014, the sheikh of the prestigious Al-Azhar University, Ahmad al-Tayyib, warned in the state television program that atheism was no longer a marginal phenomenon.
At the beginning of 2018, there are concrete plans to “criminalize atheism” and to tighten penalties. (IHEU)
The Federal Foreign Office writes (in February 2018):
“The human rights situation is extremely worrying. Human rights organizations report torture in detention centers and on police stations as well as excess length of detention in inhumane conditions without charge. The phenomenon of enforced disappearance continues to increase.
Human rights organizations in Egypt have become targets of unprecedented repression such as account closures, travel bans and investigations.”