The Subversive Power of Grief

by Paul Sedra | published December 13, 2016 - 3:09pm

The state-run funeral for the victims of the Butrusiyya Church massacre was a carefully organized, managed and controlled affair. Mourners without officially printed invitations were turned away from the proceedings, ostensibly for security reasons. Watching the ceremony on television, one could scarcely escape the impression that the relatives of the martyrs were of only secondary importance compared with the tightly interwoven array of military, state and church officials who dominated the scene.

Egypt's Bloody Sunday

by Mariz Tadros | published October 13, 2011

At first, it looked like a repeat of the worst state brutality during the January 25 uprisings that unseated the ex-president of Egypt, Husni Mubarak: On Sunday, October 9, security forces deployed tear gas, live bullets and armored vehicles in an effort to disperse peaceful protesters in downtown Cairo. Joined by Muslim sympathizers, thousands of Coptic Christians had gathered that afternoon in front of the capital’s state television and radio building, known as Maspero, and in many other parts of Egypt, to protest the burning of a church in the Upper Egyptian village of al-Marinab. A few days earlier, their initial demonstrations had also been met with violence.

Copts in the "Egyptian Fabric"

by Karim El-Gawhary
published in MER200

To talk about Egyptian Christians as a “minority” is to open a can of worms. The sensitivity of the relationship between Egyptian Muslims and Christians was evident in 1994 when a conference on minorities in the Middle East, supposed to be held in Cairo, included the Copts of Egypt on its agenda. [1] The uproar surrounding the conference was unprecedented. As Egyptian sociology professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim put it, “It was the biggest public debate in Egypt on a single issue since the Gulf crisis and Desert Storm.” Ibrahim’s Cairo-based Ibn Khaldoun Center organized the controversial conference together with the Minority Rights Group in London.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Sectarianism and Its Discontents in Post-Mubarak Egypt

by Mariz Tadros
published in MER259

The complex Muslim-Christian relations of post-Mubarak Egypt are perhaps best glimpsed through five distinct reactions to the May 7, 2011 attacks on two churches in Imbaba, a poor quarter of Cairo, that left 15 dead and over 200 injured. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced that those responsible would be tried in special security courts.

A State of Sectarian Denial

by Mariz Tadros | published January 11, 2011

On the afternoon of January 6, a number of youths found a suspicious-looking cardboard box inside the Church of St. Antonious in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya. From its appearance, the box seemed to contain explosives, so the youths slowly removed it from the church, placing it in the middle of the street. They then phoned the police, who arrived immediately and whisked the box away.

Behind Egypt's Deep Red Lines

by Mariz Tadros | published October 13, 2010

For six weeks, Egypt has been sitting on top of a sectarian volcano. Protesters, men and women, have been exiting mosques following prayers almost every single Friday since the beginning of September to demand the “release” of Camillia Shehata, a Coptic priest’s wife who they believe has converted to Islam and is now incarcerated by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The Emergence of a “Coptic Question” in Egypt

by Issandr El Amrani | published April 28, 2006

In the early morning of April 14, 2006, Mahmoud Salah al-Din Abd al-Raziq, a Muslim, entered the church of Mar Girgis (Saint George) in Alexandria’s al-Hadra district and stabbed three parishioners who had gathered for a service. Abd al-Raziq then proceeded to attack worshippers at two other churches, according to police accounts, before being arrested en route to a fourth. Nushi Atta Girgis, 78, died from his stab wounds, while several others were injured, some severely.

The Sectarian Incident That Won't Go Away

by Mariz Tadros | published March 5, 2010

When violence breaks out between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Coptic Christian minority, the Egyptian government is normally quick to deny that the motive could be sectarian. Spokesmen point to “foreign fingers” that are supposedly stirring up sedition, in hopes that the file on the incident can be closed as quickly as possible and the state can resume displaying an image of Egypt as typified by “national unity.” This rhetorical device has been useful in the past for deflecting demands from Copts, who compose roughly 10 percent of the population, that their underlying grievances be redressed. But the government’s act has worn thin.