Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Religious zeal on rise in Egypt

Increasing poverty and political oppression have left religion as one of the only venues of personal expression for many Egyptians, according to UAE’s The National.

All across Egypt signs exist of rising Islamic devotion, including women wearing veils and men growing beards, and the popularity of public broadcasts of the Quran,

While the state does not encourage public displays of religiosity, and has begun legislation to bar it from some places like universities and hospitals, some analysts say it is responsible for the increase.

“The phenomenon of the new religiosity started during late president Anwars Sadat’s time and deepened during President Hosni Mubarak’s era [starting in 1981] as both presidents left religion as the only sphere open for expression,” said Amr Chobaki, an analyst of religion in Egypt, adding, “If real opportunities emerged in Egypt to be able to express oneself without dangers, like political parties and civil society, this would start to reduce the tension and gradually defuse this superficial religiosity phenomenon. But this will take time, as the current regime has no political project [to coax people to leave] this religious sphere, which people have played havoc with it like everything else in Egypt.”

For the full article, click here.


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