Are you curious about the Copts that you have been hearing about in the news?
I just finished a paper on Coptic Christianity and its contemporary relevance. You can read/download it here and I have embedded it below. I've also included its first and last paragraph in the case that google docs is acting up.
As mentioned earlier, both groups share a common ethnicity that exists beyond a
structuralist definition connecting it to modernization; their ethnicity is a primordial one,
stemming from a sense of shared blood—a psychological glue that binds and distinguishes them
from other Arabs—one that has driven the two groups to make sacrifices for the entire nation
throughout Egypt’s history.57 The gaps then must be closed; divisive symbols such as
identification cards listing religion must be permanently abolished. Dramas such as religious
feasts and parades must be modified and celebrated together.58 Notably both groups must
embrace new approaches to their religious differences. One solution may be in the newly
established Christian Brotherhood. This political group seeks to replace the church as a
democratic mouthpiece for the Coptic population.59 As Morsi’s Coptic advisor Rafiq Habib has
pointed out, a Christian political party will likely have more in common with a conservative
Muslim bloc like the MB on most social issues than the secular parties do. Most Copts and
Islamists certainly espouse similar feelings of antipathy towards Israel and Western intrusion.
Steps such as the recent formation of a political party are important ones that bring the Coptic
community into the public discourse. For most of their history the Copts have allowed the
church to operate as their political interlocutor. Sometimes as a survival mechanism, Copts have
internalized their dhimmitude and too often espoused political monasticism; they have
withdrawn from public discourse and existed passively, depending on the church to represent
them. Emerging from this seclusion will require risks but with the world’s eyes on Egypt they
are well poised to permanently discard their “conquered” dhimmi status. The largest challenge
will be for the Islamists to widen their own dhimmah with God to cover all of their countrymen.
In doing so they may be able to embrace a new future reflective of the dhimmah of a wedding feast and Egypt may one day celebrate the marriage and birth of a new common identity for their country.
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