University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Egypt's Copts, between Morsi and the Military

Image of Egypt's Copts, between Morsi and the Military

A recent article by Febe Armanios, associate professor of history at Middlebury College, discusses the complex dynamics of violence against Copts in the aftermath of an appearance by Pope Tawadros II at a news conference supporting the ouster of President Muhamad Morsi.

Prof. Armanios argues that Egypt's Coptic Christians need political leaders who will "reiterate their historical demands for a just, pluralistic, and representative government, one that would secure their rights and those of their compatriots."

She also discusses historical ideas of Egyptian national unity:

Even though Egyptians flirted with secular notions of citizenship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, cultural and legal constructions of who is Egyptian have been persistently based on confessional lines, elevating the parochial concerns of one faction instead of fostering collective interests. Celebrated symbols of national unity—like the crescent alongside the cross—have preserved religious markers as the epitome of patriotism. Looking forward, new alliances must be forged beyond religious lines, among civil groups that can engage in genuine dialogue and conflict resolution. Serious public discussions must take place about a new constitution that would safeguard individual freedoms, human rights, and the equality of all, regardless of what president or party is in power.

Read the full article in the in the Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

About the photograph: "Egypt: Pope Tawadros II leading Easter Liturgy" OCP Media Network