14. Coptic isolationist rhetoric

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Article summary: 

Dr. Hannā discusses religious and national identity in the context of sectarian strife in Egypt.

Article full text: 

Dr. Hannā writes in al-Dustūr that the last three decades have witnessed the kind of religious rhetoric that describes the Copts as being genuinely Egyptian and the Muslims as having an Arab Muslim identity. Dr. Habīb discusses the problems of Christians in Egypt and the debate about their particular identity. One of these problems, he says, is fanaticism which is also found among Muslims. As Muslims represent the majority of population, their fanaticism negatively impacts Christians. However, Christian fanaticism is limited. Such fanaticism affects the cohesion of Egyptian society.
Coptic speeches say that the identity of the Egyptian society is colored by an Islamic Arab identity while the Coptic identity is the genuine Egyptian one. This view increases the problems of the Copts, as they are a minority, and promotes fanaticism. We need to emphasize an Egyptian identity that includes both Muslims and Copts. Another Coptic trend leans to the secularist approach in an attempt to discard the Arab Islamic identity. Some Copts believe that secularism is the solution to their problems. Such a trend, nurtured by secularist intellectuals, aims to increase the isolation of the Copts and the fragmentation of the nation into two main constituencies.

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