Many Christians, who make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people, have joined with liberals in complaining that the country’s new constitution, ratified last month, sets the stage for a broader implementation of Islamic law. Although Copts had complained of marginalization and discrimination under Mubarak, many accuse President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies of hijacking the country and seeking to exclude Christians entirely.
But some Christians said Egypt’s tumultuous transition also has rendered a long-silent community more politicized. With parliamentary elections expected in a few months, they say they are going to keep pushing for their rights to counter the Islamists’ rise.
The confrontation last month between Islamists and Egypt’s fractured liberal opposition over the character of the new constitution drew scores of Christian protesters.
It wasn’t the first time that the Copts had demonstrated against Egypt’s emerging status quo. Hundreds of protesters camped in downtown Cairo after a wave of sectarian clashes in 2011, but now many say they have felt emboldened by the vastness of the emerging opposition.