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Egypt

Population

According to Countryaah, Egypt, on the surface, is more than twice as large as Sweden, but 96 percent is desert. The inhabited parts are confined to the Nile Delta in the north and to a narrow strip of land on either side of the river in the south; these areas are among the most densely populated in the world. Population growth is very fast; from around 10 million residents in 1900, the population has increased to just over 98 million. Above all, the very high birth rates and declining death rates are behind the rate of increase.

Religion and Languages of Egypt

Urban growth is also fast. In 2019, 43 percent of the population lived in cities, of which Cairo (9.3 million residents, 2019), Alexandria (5.1 million) and Giza (4.2 million) are the largest.

For information on life expectancy and other demographic statistics, see Country facts.

In northern Egypt, the population is characterized by repeated migrations, while in the southern parts they exhibit physical features that are still strongly reminiscent of the people of the Pharaohs.

Ethnically, the people of Egypt today are more homogeneous than ever in the country's modern history. The Arab majority is overwhelming. Bedouins, found on the Sinai Peninsula, number 900,000. In the Siwaoas, 30,000 berber live. Immigrant minorities - mainly Greeks, Italians, Englishmen, Frenchmen and Jews of different nationalities - played an important role in economic development during the first half of the 20th century, reaching a maximum of 200,000 in the 1920s. In line with Egypt's modernization, the often privileged position of these minorities was undermined, which led to extensive emigration. In total, there are still smaller groups today, including Armenians (6,000), Greeks (just over 3,000) and Italians (3,000), which, however, are declining rapidly. Newer immigrant groups include Filipino, Korean and Pakistani guest workers. Other ethnic groups are Nubians (900,000) and beja(60,000), however, who are Egyptian citizens. Related to beja is hedareb (81,000). There are also several groups of domes, which in a lifestyle resemble European Roma. According to some estimates, they amount to 1 million.

The Christian population of Egypt, the Copts, is a religious minority whose size and significance is highly contested. According to official data, the number amounts to between four and six million (about 5-8 percent of the population), while Coptic sources claim that they make up at least 10 percent (see Religion).

Language

The official language of Egypt is highly Arabic. In the spoken language, both main types are found by New Arabic dialects, hadari and badawi. The most important dialect boundary is between the Bahraini dialects at the Nile delta and the Saadian dialects in the Nile valley. The former belong to the hadaric pen, while the latter are of badawi type or are old hadaric dialects strongly influenced by badawi. The dialect in Cairo, a hate speech, plays an increasingly important role as a prestigious spoken language. It is also used as a literary medium, especially in the theater.

Egypt also speaks a Berber language (in the Siwaoas), two Nubian dialects (mahas and kanuz) around Assuan, and in the southeast the Cushitic Beja.

Religion

According to official data from 2011, about 90% of the population are Muslims, the vast majority of whom are Sunni Muslims. The Hanafite law school has traditionally had some dominance, but all of the Sunni schools have supporters in the country. Today, Shia occupies a modest place (just under 1% of the population), despite Egypt being the most important Shiite state under Fatimids over 200 years of age, with the year 970 inaugurating al-Azhar University as a propaganda center. After the fall of the Fatimid dynasty (1171) and the closure of a century, al-Azhar instead became the theological and legal center of Sunni Islam. The university today attracts students from all over the Muslim world. Important to the Shiites is the Husayn Mosque in Cairo (which, like several other holy places, claims to hold Husayn's head), III 's mausoleum in Assuan (this "descendant descended to the fatimids" wanted to rest in the "land of his fathers").

Islam is a state religion and since 1980 Islamic law (Sharia) has been the guiding source of the country's legislation. However, the Provisional Constitution of 2011 guarantees freedom of belief and prohibits discrimination on the basis of faith. It also provides that political parties or political activities based on religious authority may not occur. Despite this, the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists were allowed to register as political parties in 2011, which, on the other hand, was denied a Shia-oriented party.

Despite the constitutional formulations of religious freedom, Copts and other Christian groups are limited in their religious practice. It is, for example, it is very difficult to get permission to build or repair churches. It is also forbidden to convert from Islam to any other religion and Muslim women are not allowed to marry men who are not Muslims. Coptic law does not allow Coptic men to marry Muslim women. The state pays the pay of imams but not Coptic priests.

Egypt has had a prominent place in the Islamic world in several respects. expressed itself that Egypt provided Kaba in Mecca with its annual garments up to the 1950s (which the Saudis themselves did). In cultural and educational contexts, Egypt has been a leader, a relationship that has especially entered the day in modern times.

The Copts, the ancient Christians of Egypt, who would like to see themselves as inheritors to the ancient Pharaonic culture, constitute the largest Christian church in the Middle East (see Coptic-Orthodox Church). In addition to the Copts, there are a number of other Christian churches represented in the country. the Greek Orthodox and a number of unified churches (Roman Catholic with Orthodox liturgies). The Copts were in the majority until the 11th century, although the Coptic language was replaced 200 years earlier with Arabic and only survived in the liturgy, above all.

According to official data, the number of Christians including Copts amounts to between 7 and 12% of the population. Egypt also has Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons. In addition, Bahai has about 2,000 members in the country.

The Copts have usually had decent conditions under Muslim rule, protected as "the Coptic nation". However, tensions, sometimes pure persecution, have occurred, e.g. in Middle Egypt, where the Copts are particularly numerous. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna (assassinated in 1949), advocates increased Islamization of the state's institutions. The ultimate goal is to make Egypt an Islamic state. The organization was banned in 1954, but from the 1970s onwards it has been able to operate fairly freely from time to time. It has an effective network and a great influence over wide peoples layers and within the trade union movement. More militant groups have emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood, of which al-Jamat al-Islamiyya("The Islamic Group") and Islamic Jihad are among the more famous. In connection with the regime's attempts to combat these groups, the heads suffered revenge campaigns. Several attacks against Coptic Christians took place during the 1990s. Attacks were also directed at foreign tourists as well as government officials and Egyptian writers and intellectuals. Throughout the 1990s, there were fighting between Islamists and Egyptian security forces, with mass arrests and executions as a result. Conflicts in the early 2000s have again shown strong contradictions between Muslims and Copts.

The sectarian violence between Muslims and Copts has increased since 2007, to further escalate after the January revolt in 2011. This year, Muslims destroyed Coptic churches in, among other places. Imbaba and Itfeeh. Clashes have also occurred in 2012.

Of the particularly large Jewish population in Egypt, which played a prominent role in the Middle Ages, some 600 people still remain today, while others state that only about 100 Jews, most of them elderly, are in the country. The vast majority of the 66,000 Jews from 1947 have emigrated to Israel.

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