Copts, Church, and State: Egypt’s Christians Frustrated with Lack of Protection

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Author(s): Candace Lukasik

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Under the leadership of Coptic Pope Tawadros II, the official message of the Coptic Orthodox Church has been that Copts under Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi are living under their best conditions in modern Egyptian history. Tawadros has championed Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi as a “savior” of the Copts, following the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi. The Egyptian state has attempted to quell any criticism of its lack of initiative when it comes to protecting Christians by, for example, the recent establishment of the Supreme Committee to Combat Sectarian Violence, and through symbolic gestures such as endorsing the opening of the Church of the Nativity in Egypt’s new administrative capital, the largest cathedral in the Middle East. In the United States, the church’s position tempers the ability of rights groups to pressure policymakers for action, and makes asylum claims for Coptic applicants more difficult.

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