Alla Rubinstein


The Christian community of Egypt dates back to the seventeenth century and comprises 12 per cent of the population today. As one of the oldest churches of the world, the Coptic Christian Church, first formed in Alexandria, has stood resilient and faithful to its traditions against intolerance, siege and persecutions. Having been present in most institutions of the state among the overwhelmingly Sunni-Muslim population, Copts are not new to the slow process of Islamization that Egypt has been undergoing for the last twenty years. What has been unique to the recent Coptic experience is the forced integration of Shari’a law by organized, violent fundamentalist groups—such as the Muslim Brotherhood. These groups have permeated political and social aspects of life, creating the worst suffering in Coptic modern history according to the Church. Dismissed as episodic, the state is unresponsive to the persistent violence and discrimination against Christians voiced daily.

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