The Copts form part of the Egyptian population. They are the largest minority group within Egypt. A majority of this community inhabit the upper part of Egypt. Some are also scattered within larger cities. These bigger cities include Cairo and Alexandria. Generally, the Copts are well represented within the major social classes.
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However, most of them are found within upper or middle class. This is because of their love for education. Most of the Copts pursue the doctrines of the “Coptic Orthodox Church” (Hasan 2003, pp. 34). This church was founded by Saint Mark. He is also believed to have brought Christianity into the land of Egypt. This paper analyses the interaction between the Copts in Egypt and the Muslim majority. Apart from this, it examines how the Copts are treated in Egypt.
The Interaction between the Copts in Egypt and the Muslim Majority
There is no constructive relationship between the Copts and the Muslim community. Their religion differences have widely contributed to this soar relationship. Notably, the Copts are a potentially endangered minority group within Egypt. They have eminent differences with the majority Muslim community.
There are indications that their population is gradually dwindling. The two communities do not integrate effectively with one another. The Copt community has been largely compromised (Scott 2010, pp. 43). They have restricted access to equal leadership opportunities. They are exposed to persistent and subtle tensions from the majority Muslim group.
The differences between these two groups caused sharp divisions in the dispensation of vital services. This trend is notable within public institutions. Due to increased tensions between the two communities, most Copts have been exiled. Generally, there are several Copts residing in the Diaspora. This is relative to the number of their majority Muslim counterparts. They have been mostly noted within countries such as the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom (Shatzmiller 2005, pp. 31).
The high rate of emigration of the Copts indicates the tension that exists between these two communities. Indicatively, some scholars have noted that the majority Muslim groups are gradually taking over Egypt. The disparity between these two groups can be noted within the country’s leadership structure. It is observed that very few Egyptian political and public leaders originate from the Coptic community.
Most people from the Coptic community are gradually transforming into Islam. However, it is vital to note that this transformation in religion is not out of their wish. They convert to Islam because they fear the likelihood of persecution. The majority Muslim society have frequently engaged in the prosecution of the Copts (Wiedl 2007, pp. 72). The faithful Copts in Egypt get marginalized through social oppression.
Observably, the Copts are gradually getting alienated and extinct in their native country. There are very minimal social interactions between these two communities. The few remaining Copts have their own institutions and residences. They also share very few intrinsic social values. Perhaps, this is largely attributed to their different religious beliefs.
These communities attend different churches and learning institutions. However, it is notable that there are also categories of the Copts that have converted to Muslim faith. Basically, this has been a survival mechanism (Watson 2002, pp. 24).
Although there are considerable efforts to unite these two communities, very minute steps have been achieved. There is a remarkable level of social segregation between these two communities. The supremacy of the Muslim community has overpowered the dominance of the Copts in Egypt.
How the Copts Are Treated Within Egypt
The Muslim dominion in Egypt has caused severe oppression of the Copts. There is eminent discrimination within basic service delivery sectors. The Copts have limited access to essential services. These include education and property ownership rights. The Muslim majority have dominated these vital sectors.
Consequently, they practice segregation in the delivery of these services. The Copts face restrictions related to worship and practice of faith (Watson 2002, pp. 54). They have to seek permission in order to practice their faith. This is also observable during the worship times. The authorities offering these worship permits are majorly comprised of the oppressive majority Muslim community. These elements propagate the marginal treatment of the Coptic community within Egypt.
The government has made education free for both the Copts and Muslim communities. This is observable from the elementary levels up to the university. However, there are still obvious disparities in the education system. The Muslims enjoy certain advantages within the education system. The Copts are not included in some of the state funded university courses. An example of such courses is medicine (Wiedl 2007, pp. 91).
It is also observable that unlike the Muslim, the Coptic religious learning institutions remain excluded from government support. There are also notable disparities in scholarship opportunities. The Copts have severe restrictions concerning property ownership and real estate. The Muslim building designs and preferences are given more priority. There are bureaucratic processes in the certification of development processes for the Copts. Conclusively, it is evident that the Copts have been marginalized in their cradle land.
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List of References
Hasan, S 2003, Christians versus Muslims in modern Egypt: the century-long struggle for Coptic equality, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Scott, M 2010, The challenge of political Islam non-Muslims and the Egyptian state, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
Shatzmiller, M 2005, Nationalism and minority identities in Islamic societies, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal.
Watson, H 2002, Among the Copts, Sussex Academic Press, Brighton, England.
Wiedl, N 2007, The role of the Copts in the national movement in Egypt until the 1919 revolution, GRIN Verlag, München.