Muslims in Egypt support religious freedom, as long as “religious freedom” means believing what they do.

Total beers: 3  (I’ve started up the live stream where you can come tell me what to sing for a donation to the SSA, no matter how small.  :D)

Pew just released a study about Muslims and their attitude toward religious freedom.  Apparently 80% of Muslims in Egypt support religious freedom.  And by that I mean, the religious freedom to be a Muslim.

Almost 80% of Egyptian Muslims say they favour religious freedom and a similar number favour sharia law. Of that group, almost 90% also think people who renounce Islam should be put to death. Confused? So are they.

So much for “radical Muslims” who support death as a punishment for small crimes (like leaving the faith) being a fringe minority.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Hmm, this sounds familiar. It is like many religious people have the same idea about religious freedom meaning the freedom to be apart of their religion.

  • Pulse

    Would you please link the original survey or article discussing it? I’d like to read what else they have to say on this demographic.

    • JTEberhard

      Yikes! Sorry. Links now included.

  • busterggi

    So they’re the same as most Christians in red state America.

  • Alexander Unwyn Cherry

    It’s sadly consistent. They believe you have a freedom to *be* any religion. But not to *leave* their own religion. So if you were never a muslim, it’s okay for you to not be one (and okay to follow whatever religious laws exist there). But become one, and you fall under their laws.

    It’s screwed up. But not inconsistent. Especially if they also support *other* faiths punishment for leaving that faith.

    • Psychotic Atheist

      Of course, that would make it inconsistent with another common Muslim belief: that we are born Muslim and ‘converts’ are really to be referred to as ‘reverts’.
      An interesting question that doesn’t seem to have been asked, as it wasn’t the focus presumably, was whether religious freedom should include the Bahá’í faith.

  • Norm Donnan

    Ha,I was going to say it sounds like atheism,but the truth is dont we all want people to see things just as we do from our most basic relationships to a countries religion, or their view on abortion or homosexual marriage,ect ect.Its human nature.

    • Glodson


      Okay…. Let’s try to make sense of this. Yes, we want people to agree with us. That’s something most of want. Dissent is good, but ultimately, there is a desire to see other agree with us. That’s normal.

      However, this is not the same thing as wanting to kill people who dissent. By far. Many of us reject that. In the US, many reject that even if they are religious. Most of recongize this. The Muslims in the US, for example, largely reject violence done by the state.This was followed by atheists in a poll.

      Note that was for any state violence. Not just state violence intended to enforce a religion. There are fringe people in the states who want to kill for not being in their group. This is a thing, this does exist. We know that it is the fringe. The problem in the States is that some religious people don’t even realize they are trying to enforce their religion through laws. And some do, but think they have the right. Both are wrong.

      And both groups still aren’t advocating killing those who don’t convert in the US. This is much different than the result in Egypt. Yes, there’s a parallel in that there’s a confusion between what the freedoms of religion entail in both countries by a number of people. But it is still a far cry between this basic confusion and wanting to kill over it.

      It is one thing to want people to agree. It is another to try and force your own beliefs onto others by force of law. Many of us are secularists. I don’t want to enforce my lack of religion onto others. I want them to agree with me and reject religion. That is a much different idea.

      Yea, so… you’re pretty wrong.