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The Coptic Question in the Mubarak Era$
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Sebastian Elsasser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199368396

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199368396.001.0001

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The Rise of Sectarian Polemics

The Rise of Sectarian Polemics

(p.190) 7 The Rise of Sectarian Polemics
The Coptic Question in the Mubarak Era

Sebastian Elsässer

Oxford University Press

In late Mubarak era witnessed an increasingly explosive feedback between public sectarian polemics and sectarian violence. An analysis shows that polemics were partly facilitated, by unsolved issues implicit in the dominant approaches towards Muslim-Christian relations, for example the disagreements about national identity or the weakness of religious conciliation. Warped perceptions and polemic struggles about the social and political role of the Coptic Church and its leadership also played a significant role. In addition to that, polemics featured an entirely new set of actors, many of whom rose to prominence in the context of media liberalization, like television preachers and Internet missionaries. Muslim and Christian polemicists adopted exclusive religious-sectarian discourses of a type that was previously marginal in Egyptian public culture, thus adding an unprecedented factor of sectarian escalation. Again, it appears that the Egyptian public suffers from a lack of generally accepted rules concerning how matters of religious difference can be treated with mutual tolerance and respect.

Keywords:   Muslim-Christian relations, Theology, Sectarianism, Religious polemics, Coptic Church, Proselytism

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