"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Copts at the Crossroads

The events in Egypt over the last 3 years are a source of great sadness--and not a little frustration given how predictable much of this was. The frustration grows when one sees the same mistakes being pursued by the Obama administration now in Syria. Once again it seems painfully clear that the Eastern Christian populations are of no consideration or worth to those who make these geopolitical calculations.

A book released just last week takes a fresh look at what has been going on in Egypt: Mariz Tadros, Copts at the Crossroads: The Challenges of Building Inclusive Democracy in Egypt (American U of Cairo Press, 2013), 320pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
A detailed examination of Christian–Muslim relations in Egypt before and since the 2011 Revolution

In the light of the escalation of sectarian tensions during and after Mubarak’s reign, the predicament of the Arab world’s largest religious minority, the Copts, has come to the forefront. This book poses such questions as why there has been a mass exodus of Copts from Egypt, and how this relates to other religious minorities in the Arab region; why it is that sectarian violence increased during and after the Egyptian revolution, which epitomized the highest degree of national unity since 1919; and how the new configuration of power has influenced the extent to which a vision of a political order is being based on the principles of inclusive democracy.
The book examines the relations among the state, the Church, Coptic citizenry, and civil and political societies against the backdrop of the increasing diversification of actors, the change of political leadership in the country, and the transformations occurring in the region. An informative historical background is provided, and new fieldwork and statistical data inform a thoughtful exploration of what it takes to build an inclusive democracy in post-Mubarak Egypt.

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