Christian Experience with National Politics to the Present
An earlier chapter related Christian experience with various political regimes in Egypt after independence in 1952. We left the story at the end of the 1970s during the Sadat regime, when the fieldwork for the intensive study of Bulaq took place. The Sadat period, as noted, was perhaps the darkest moment in modern times for Christians, coming as it did shortly after the disastrous war of 1967 with Israel. At the time, many demoralized Egyptians sought refuge in religious observance after decades of running after the failed ideas of socialism, communism, and Pan-Arab nationalism. The subsequent years saw not only more people turning to Islam but President Sadat encouraging conservative religious elements to counteract the threat he perceived coming from the lingering leftists of Nasser’s day. This period culminated in Sadat delegitimizing the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, and banishing him to a monastery where he remained until after Sadat died in 1981. The Christians of Bulaq felt the national-level turmoil in what they perceived as a greater interest in converting them and discriminating against them economically and socially. The story continues in this chapter with the tenure of Hosni Mubarak1 up until the present day.
KeywordsSecurity Force National Politics Religious Observance Muslim Brotherhood Islamic State
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