Egypt's Christians, the Copts, are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. While they have always been considered an integral component of the Egyptian nation, their precise status within Egyptian politics and society has been subject to ongoing debates from the Twentieth Century to present day. Part of the legacy of the Mubarak era (1980-2011) in Egypt is the unsettled state of Muslim-Christian relations and the increasing volatility of sectarian
tensions, which also overshadowed the first years of the post-Mubarak period. The Coptic Question in the Mubarak Era delves into the discourses that dominated public debates and the political agenda-setting during the Mubarak era, explaining why politicians and the public in Egypt have had such enormous
difficulties in recognizing the real roots of sectarian strife. This "Coptic question" is a complex set of issues, ranging from the petty struggles of daily Egyptian life in a bi-religious society to intricate legal and constitutional questions (family law, conversion, and church-building), to the issue of the political participation of the Coptic minority. Through these subjects, the book explores a larger debate about Egyptian national identity. Paying special attention paid to the neglected
diversity of voices within the Coptic community, Sebastian Elsasser peels back the historical layers to provide a comprehensive analysis of the historic, political, and social dynamics of Egypt's Coptic Christians during Hosni Mubarak's rule.
Sebastian Elsasser is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Oriental and Islamic Studies, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat Kiel, Germany.
Contents ; Introduction ; 1) The Emergence of a 'Coptic Question' (1800-1952) ; 2) The Rise of Religious Revivalisms (1930-today) ; 3) The Copts and the Republican Regime (1952-2011) ; 4) National Unity and the Dilemmas of Identity and History ; 5) Religious Patriotism and Conciliation ; 6) Human Rights and Citizenship: The Blocked Alternative ; 7) The Rise of Sectarian Polemics ; Conclusion ; References