TALKS involving members of the Egyptian security forces, and
Muslim and Coptic representatives have enabled about 20 to 30
Christian families to return to their homes in the town of Dahshur,
south of Cairo.
They fled when sectarian trouble erupted after an argument
between two men became violent (
News, 10 August). One person was killed and many more were
wounded. President Mohamed Morsi ordered the authorities to take
steps to prevent a repeat of the incident.
When news emerged of the families' return, an organisation of
Copts, the Maspero Youth Union, called off a mass protest that it
had planned to stage in Cairo. The group is named after a clash
between Copts and the security forces last October, outside the
main TV station in the capital, known as the Maspero Building, in
which 24 Christians were killed (
News, 14 October 2011).
Incidents such as this have prompted younger Copts to take steps
to try to assert the rights of the minority Christian community.
The success of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups in the
parliamentary elections have given this trend extra momentum.
A complaint among many young Copts is that previous generations
of religious leaders have not been sufficiently active in domestic
politics. Over recent months, several attempts have been made to
pro-mote political parties with a mandate to fight for Copts'
rights. One of the latest moves has been the formation of a
Such actions go against the teaching of the Coptic Church, which
seeks to promote the right of Christians to be citizens of Egypt on
a par with Muslims. These two outlooks are likely to dominate
discussions among Copts in the months ahead, as plans are prepared
for the election of a new Coptic Pope.