Egypt

Muslims versus Christians

In January, 2000 the bloodiest conflict in 20 years took place between Muslims and Coptic Christians in a small town about 300 miles (500 kilometers) south of Cairo. More than 20 were killed with another 33 wounded. What started out as an argument between a Coptic Christian and a Muslim family quickly deteriorated into bloodshed between other Christians and Muslims.

After the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, many in the West thought Egypt could have a so-called democracy and more people would have jobs, the youth would have a more optimistic future and the masses would have more of a say in the control and direction of the government.  Sadly, they were disappointed.  Unrest continued, protests and riots remained in the streets.  Neither the Islamists nor the Christians or others seem happy with the situation.

In July/August 2013 the chaos and violence in Egypt took a new turn.  First the president, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown by the Egyptian military which, similar to the military in Turkey, attempted to bring stability back to Egypt.  The opposite happened.  Backers of Morsi who was supported by the Muslim Brotherhood took to the streets to protest and, as often happens, the protest turned violent.  The military, after warnings, worked to stem the violence, causing even more violence.  This basic conflict was highlighted by moderate Muslims in violent clashes against the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Muslims attacking the Coptic Christians and their holy places.

Though the Egyptians as a nation are basically a tolerant people, this periodic conflict there between two of the world’s great religions continues.