Egyptian National Identity Analysis

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Every state has its own unique national identity, which is based off of its personal and regional history. This national identity characterizes the ideologies and beliefs of the people and the state, and serves as a bridge between the citizens. In my opinion the Egyptian national identity is based on following Islamic beliefs and values. This aspect of Islamic beliefs as the underlying feature of Egypt’s national identity, comes from an expression of Islamic beliefs or religion as a part of Egyptian culture as opposed to a religion based on faith. The Egyptian national identity is rooted in a centuries long Islamic outlook within Egypt and the region. The Egyptian government has implemented Islamic ideas as part of the foundation of the…show more content…
In contrast to other cultures where there is a clear separation between the secular and religious spheres, religion runs very deep in the Muslim world. As a result even the most secular Muslims will practice religion to a certain extent, for example even secular Muslims pray, in order to be part of a community. In Egypt, there is no clear distinction between those who are religious and those who are secular. I believe that the main reason Islam is able to exist as a culture and not necessarily as a faith in Egypt, is as a result of this mindset that religious practices are communal gestures. This concept was explained by Shibley Telhami, who wrote that that while many Egyptians practice Islam out of faith, there are some (secular Muslims) who practice Islam and follow Sharia law because they have the right to do so (Washington Post, 2013). I also believe that this lack of separation has been a cause for much of the current turmoil and tension in Egypt. Many of the individuals and youth that are leading these movements are secular, and they are trying to fight against the religious Muslim leadership in Egypt. Although one cannot completely explain religion as an ideology (something that influences policy) it is possible to look religion as a part of a broader national identity, which at the end of the day will play a role in the way a country…show more content…
Although Shibley Telhami presented trends, which have shown that, the ‘religious’ Egyptian identity is weakening, I believe that the religious beliefs still play a major role on Egyptian society. The two aspects of Egyptian national identity that I presented in this paper, illustrate the way that religion and Islamic beliefs control Egypt. Using this concept of the national community, it is possible to explain that in the last few years these individuals felt a surge of freedom that they never had before. These individuals who led and participated in all the movements are beginning to imagine an Egypt that is not controlled by dictators and religion (Islam). I believe that the last few years in Egypt have been fraught with tensions as a result of this lack of personal sovereignty. In order to ease the turmoil that has plagued Egypt since 2011, I believe that it is necessary to change the religious culture and national identity within Egypt. In my opinion this will open up the possibilities for people to truly imagine that they are part of a national
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