Sunday, November 27, 2011

Which Egyptian Christians?

This Thursday-Sunday will be the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, and the program contains lots of sessions about the past year's political developments. One that looks interesting is at the very end, and includes, among others, this paper by Mourad Sinot:
"The investigation shows that Copts participated as individuals; the Church hierarchy had little influence. Evidence indicates that the number of Copts increased as a reaction against the Patriarch’s support of the regime after Mubarak’s speech on February 1. Later, Christians had a bigger presence in Tahrir because of Evangelical efforts culminating in what was mistakenly publicized as 'mass,' as well as commemorations of the Martyrs of the Alexandria bombing on February 6 and 9. Perhaps ignorant of denominational differences, the media hailed 'Coptic' participation in the Revolution and the unity of the nation. Lastly, in spite of their somewhat marginal position within the protest movement, Christians in general and Coptic Orthodox Christians in particular, have now seen the need for their direct involvement in the public sphere and are actively discussing possible modalities for such involvement – a fact that may redeem their slowness in endorsing the Revolution."

In Egypt, "Evangelical" is denomination of sorts rather than a tendency, and my understanding is that they are in some sense followers of Billy Graham. If they were disproportionately participating in the revolution despite the media portrayal of all Egyptian Christians as Copts, that would be interesting.



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