Reconstituting the Coptic Community Amidst Revolution

by Paul Sedra
published in MER265

Egypt’s Coptic community marked the passing in 2012 of two widely known and influential public figures. The first was the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, who died on March 17. Shenouda had celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his enthronement as patriarch the previous November. The second was Milad Hanna, professor of civil engineering at ‘Ayn Shams University and veteran writer on public affairs in the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper, who passed away on November 27. While Shenouda was the leader of the Orthodox Church hierarchy and thus of the clerical establishment, Hanna was one of the most prominent and outspoken members of the Coptic laity.

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Mosque and Church in the Uprising

by Dale Bishop
published in MER152

It was only one of the hundreds of incidents that cumulatively have come to be known as “the uprising.” Here there were no beatings or shootings, no bloodshed, and, as far as I know, no one was arrested. In fact, compared with the dramatic events we have been witnessing nightly on the evening news, this was such a tame one-act drama that even the participants may have by now forgotten that it took place. But on a Sunday morning in early January, when the uprising was about a month old, an incident took place just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City that imparted a certain clarity to me about the nature and significance of the events of the past months.

"Everyone Misunderstood the Depth of the Movement Identifying with Aoun"

by Joe Stork
published in MER162

Mansour Raad is the pen name of an Arab journalist who recently left Beirut and has followed the Lebanese war closely. Joe Stork spoke with him in Europe in late November 1989.

Who is Gen. Aoun and what does his “war of liberation” represent?

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Religion and Political Identity in Bayt Sahour

by Glenn Bowman
published in MER164

In 1989, the West Bank village of Bayt Sahour made international headlines by staging a successful tax strike against Israeli military authorities. My introduction to Bayt Sahour came six years earlier, in late December 1983, when I attended Latin Christmas Eve celebrations at Manger Square in neighboring Bethlehem. In mid-afternoon, Palestinian scouts in colorful uniforms, carrying banners and playing bagpipes and drums, marched into the square to greet the Latin Patriarch on his arrival from Jerusalem to prepare for Midnight Mass.

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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.

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