Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Egypt in Crisis

The largest nation in the Middle East is in the middle of a continuing violent revolution that began in the winter of 2011 and exploded during the last month with street demonstrations, a military coup and counter-demonstrations.

Although Egypt is an Islamic nation and shares many Islamic characteristics, it has also been closer to the West than many Middle East nations. The public professes strong adherence to tenets of Islam, but the nation has secular-oriented business and military establishments and many secular attitudes in its massive youth population.

Americans considered Egypt an ally before the revolution began, but now only 40 percent consider it favorably. Egyptians, likewise, are hostile to Americans. They are mostly hostile to an exaggerated view of our influence on their choice of government and its operation.

There are many contradictions in Egyptian society. The military has just shut down a couple of Muslim Brotherhood media outlets and the nation is not seen by Freedom House as not having a free media.  But, 74 percent of Egyptians believe their media is free.

Much of the revolution has been driven by the Internet, especially cell phones, but the nation is at the primitive end of the range of home Internet access (13%).

Its Sunni affiliation leads it to see Iran unfavorably (78%), but also 95 percent state they do not accept homosexuality and 74 percent believe Sharia should be the “law of the land.”

The Buzz: Russia is not Europe and not much of an ally
Gallup: Egypt’s favorable rating in U.S. slips to two-decade low
Gallup: Home internet access out of reach for many worldwide
Gallup: Majorities in most countries perceive their media as free

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