Weekly religion news with items on President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, the political and religious sentiments in Egypt and more.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned after weeks of massive protests around the country calling for him to step down.

The first act of protest started on Jan. 17 when a man set himself on fire outside the Egyptian parliament building. From there, Facebook and Twitter played a large role in organizing protests in cities around country. Now, after 30 years of being in power and three straight weeks of protests, Mubarak has stepped down.

But where do the people of Egypt stand on the future of their government? The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, a study conducted from April to May 2010 –– about eight months before the Egyptian protests started –– offers information that can help provide perspective on the religious sentiments and future outlook of Egypt.

During the study, 59 percent of Muslims in Egypt said that democracy was preferable to any other kind of government, while 22 percent said that, “in some circumstances, a non-democratic government could be preferable.” Yet, 16 percent said “it did not matter what kind of government is in place for a person of their situation.” 

When asked how big of a role Islam played in Egypt’s political life, 48 percent said it played a large role while a nearly equal 49 percent said it played a small role. However, 85 percent viewed Islam’s role in politics as favorable, compared with 2 percent who viewed it as negative.

When asked whether there is a struggle between those who want to modernize the nation and Islamic fundamentalists, 61 percent of Muslims in Egypt said they did not see a struggle while 31 percent said they did see a struggle.

Among those who saw a struggle, 59 percent sided with the fundamentalists while 27 percent sided with the modernizers. According to the study, “many more Muslims in Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia than in Egypt said they saw a struggle between modernizers and fundamentalists in their country.”

When asked how concerned they are about Islamic extremism in their country, 20 percent of Muslims in Egypt were very concerned and 41 percent were somewhat concerned. When asked about Islamic extremism around the world, 30 percent were very concerned and 40 percent were somewhat concerned.

Week in Religion

-Feb. 10, 1495, King's College was founded under Roman Catholic sponsorship in Aberdeen, Scotland. In 1860, it merged with the Protestant Marischal College to become the University of Aberdeen.

- Feb. 9, 1267, Synod of Breslau orders Jews of Silesia to wear special caps.

- Feb. 8, 1693, the College of William and Mary was founded in Williamsburg, Va., for educating Anglican clergyman. After Harvard, it is the second oldest institution of higher learning in America.

-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church

Survey Says

In the mid-1960s, the population of Catholic nuns and sisters in the U.S. peaked at 180,000. Today, there is an estimated 59,000, and more than 90 percent are 60 or older.

-- Religionnews.com

Good Book?

“Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness” by Candace Cameron Bure and Darlene Schacht

Actress Candace Cameron Bure from “Full House” inspires women to embrace a healthier lifestyle by moving faith to the forefront, making wise choices and finding their worth in the eyes of God.

She shares her struggle with food and ultimately her healthy outlook on weight despite the toothpick-thin expectations of Hollywood. Candace offers a biblical perspective on appetite and self-control that provides encouragement to women, guiding them toward freedom.

-- B&H Publishing Group

Quote of the week

“A friendly study of the world's religions is a sacred duty.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The Word

Tenet: An opinion, principle, dogma, belief or doctrine that is accepted as true, generally by a faith group.

-- religioustolerance.org

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Poland

Roman Catholic: 89.8 percent (about 75 percent practicing)

Eastern Orthodox: 1.3 percent

Protestant: 0.3 percent

Other: 0.3 percent

Unspecified: 8.3 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service