On February 11, 2011 after 18 days of massive protests from Egyptians, President Hosni Mubarak resigned ending his 30-year presidency. The news was received with roars of approval and chanting. Many Egyptians had seen Mubarak’s long reign as very undemocratic. His resignation was seen as the people’s victory because it was their protests that had forced the outcome.
Now the power void left by the absence of the Mubarak regime is being felt by Egypt’s Coptic Christians who have been at the brunt of violence from Muslim extremists.
On Sunday night 25 Coptic Christians were killed and over 500 were injured in a riot that brought together Christians, Muslims and the police. The clash had been between Christians who were protesting a church attack and the Egyptian army who was ordered to break up protests of any kind.
According to Charles Lewis the religion reporter for the National Post, there had already been a “significant anti-Christian element in the army [and] increased frustration among the Copts as the rate of attacks on their community continues to increase. All this came together on Sunday.” It was the belief of Lewis that the incident on Sunday was “really a riot by the army.”
Coptic Christians currently make up 10 per cent of Egypt’s population. The start date of the Coptic Church was around 54 A.D. and the church was established there 600 years prior to Islam. “Egypt was one of the most Christian countries in the world before Islam and home to some of the greatest Christian theologians the world has seen,” said Lewis.
Q&A: Are Coptic Christians safe in the new Egypt? [National Post]