Last month in Minya, Egypt, a 70-year-old Christian woman was beaten and dragged through the streets naked by a mob because her son was suspected of having an affair with a Muslim woman. Horrors like these have renewed fears of religious discord in Egypt. President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi and his government regularly describe Egypt as unified and have worked hard””publicly””to reduce Muslim-Christian tension. But the Minya event has once again demonstrated the relative impunity of the Egyptian police, who failed to respond to earlier warnings of a violent, religiously-motivated attack and took hours to appear on the scene.
The status of Coptic Christians in Egypt has for the most part remained unchanged since Anwar Sadat came to power in 1970. Today, there is little Christian representation in government, and sectarian violence is all but commonplace. But many have suggested that President Sissi is more respectful of minority rights than his predecessors, and many Christians supported Sissi’s rise to power.