Church-State Relations:Copts between Citizenship, Coptism and Millet System
Alaa Al-Din Arafat

This paper explores the roots of the sectarianism against Coptic Christians and how Coptic-state relations are still revolved aroundthe "Millet System", a partnership between the Pope and the president, which has been renovated by president Nasser (1954-1970), consolidated by Mubarak (1981-2011), and revived by president El-Sisi. It also examines different attempts to challenge the "Millet System", whether by Pope Shenouda III in the 1970s or by Coptic activists in 2000s. It also addresses how Coptic Church is wavering between"citizenship", "Coptism" and "Millet System". This paper argues that the "Millet System" is still institutionalizing Coptic-state relations. Second, the "Millet System" is not related to escalation or stopping the sectarian violence against Copts. Third, the popular culture about Christianity resulted from sectarianizing the most conservative elements within the Egyptian society in poor urban and rural areas by the Islamist groups such as the MB, al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group), and Salafist Call, is responsible for sectarianism and for the clash of identifications between Copts and Muslims. Thus, rules and laws sole will not secure Copts from sectarianism, as long as popular culture is still a dominating factor in the Egyptian society and is still able to create such sectarian environment.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jppg.v7n1a1