Far from being a battle of competing religious ideologies, Egypt's current conflict is primarily one of who and what should control the levers of power. The majority of Egyptians, both in power and in opposition, are personally pious.But since the military coup of July 2013, a conflict has emerged between those who support the deposed President Morsi, and those who opposed him. President Sisi has led the charge, declaring that under his rule the Muslim Brotherhood "will not exist". The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, has focused on legitimacy: Morsi is the "legitimate" president, and Sisi is therefore illegitimate. The implication in jihadi thinking is that he can be removed by force, and indeed jihadi groups operating out of the Sinai peninsula have been active in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt. Likewise, the government is not only appealing to Egyptians for backing; several Gulf countries as well as the United States have pledged financial and political support.
1Of an Egyptian population of 86 million, 10% are Christians. The majority of the Muslim population is Sunni.
2Since the July 2013 military coup, over 10,000 Brotherhood supporters have been arrested, and hundreds sentenced to death.
3While public sentiment towards the military is broadly positive, according to research from Pew the institutions favourability rating has fallen from 73% to 56% between 2013 and 2014.