The Politics of Sectarianism and Repentance in Egyptian Prisons: Notes from a Coptic Khidma

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Author(s): N/A

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In the Coptic tradition and theology, khidma refers to services conducted in the name of Jesus, but also other members of the divine community who reside in heaven, such as Mary, the angels, and saints. It encompasses a wide range of activities: from being a student or a teacher in a Sunday school class, to singing hymns, organizing trips to holy sites, leading spiritual gatherings, helping the poor or disabled, and paying visits to the sick, widowed, or imprisoned. Since the mid of the twentieth century in specific, the Coptic Church institution claimed a controlling of the means of delivering these services in an adequate manner. This piece presents an overview of the benefits and challenges of the prisons-related khidma with respect to the politics of sectarianism and the theology of repentance in Egypt.

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