Egypt

Blasphemy with prison sentencesAfter the 2011 “Arab Spring” protests and overthrow of the Morsi government, under the supposedly secular Sisi presidency there has been agitation against young atheists as a “threat to society”, continued marginalisation of religious minorities, and the enthusiastic enforcement of “blasphemy” laws.

The Constitution as of January 2014 is an amended version of the 2012 Constitution signed in to law by the Morsi administration. It has been criticised by human rights groups for putting too much power in the hands of the military, and it remains aggressively religious. It places Islam at its core whilst only recognising other “Abrahamic” religions as legitimate forms of worship.

The Egyptian Criminal Code explicitly outlaws blasphemy. Nestled among prohibitions on advocating “extremist thoughts”, “instigating seiditon” or “prejudicing national security”, Article 98 (f) also outlaws “disdaining and contempting any of the heavenly religions or the sects belonging thereto”.

The “heavenly religions” refers only to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions. The law has been used to limit the freedom of speech of religious minorities and non-religious groups alike. Though there is no codified law against apostasy, the blasphemy law has been used against so-called apostates.