October 11th, 2011
08:47 AM ET

Q and A: Coptic Christians

By Dave Gilbert, CNN

London (CNN) - Violence has returned to the streets of Cairo - this time in fresh confrontations between army forces and pro-Coptic Christian protesters.

Accounts of the casualties vary but an Egyptian health ministry spokesman told CNN that 25 people had been killed and more than 272 injured during the weekend protests that were sparked by the burning of a Coptic Christian church in southern Egypt.

There has been long-standing tension between Egypt's Coptic Christians and Muslims but CNN's Ben Wedeman says that since this year's revolution that removed the former President Hosni Mubarak there have been more of these clashes.

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has tried to deal with the tension by organizing a committee made up of representatives from Coptic Christians, Muslims, the military and government but Wedeman reports that some members have now suspended cooperation or quit over the government's handling of the situation.

State TV reported that Ahmed al-Tayyeb, a prominent Egyptian Muslim leader and grand imam of Al-Azhar, has also been reaching out to Coptic church leaders in hopes of containing the crisis.

CNN examines the background to the renewed violence.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Coptic • Egypt

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Payday loans

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was once a entertainment account it. Look complicated to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

    June 22, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  2. yusef o' carroll

    I am half Egyption living in Ireland ans let me tell you the truth about these so calles peace loving muslins. 27 years ago they burned my grand father, father, and sister in a church outside luxor because Allah be mercifull (ha ha ) DROVE THEM TO MURDER MOST OF MY FAMILY, they time has come for not only copts but all christians to stand up and destroy the evil of islam, I know that one day , the one true God (JESUS) WILL COME BACK AND SEND THEM TO HELL, but fellow christians dont be afraid, they think that they are better than us but good always overcomes evil, salam issa masih. copt to the death

    January 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  3. Damian

    All religion was made up by man.

    October 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  4. Muneef

    No thanks;

    We lack an example of humanity of mankind towards his fellow men...what is obstructing that is what is called "Obsessions"..to be obsessed with thoughts of fear from others or a sense of superiority over others, what ever the cause might be whether racially or religiously or politically there will always be some prophecies or greeds to race to and fight over... What ever it was that stands on the way of integration and the blending of the races cultures to live in peaceful interfaith together helping each other....what ever is against that is evil that we have to seek refuge in the lord of mankind;
    Sahih International
    Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, (114:1).
    The Sovereign of mankind. (114:2).
    The God of mankind, (114:3).
    From the evil of the retreating whisperer -(114:4).
    Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – (114:5).
    From among the jinn and mankind." (114:6).

    Sahih International
    Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak (113:1)
    From the evil of that which He created (113:2).
    And from the evil of darkness when it settles (113:3).
    And from the evil of the blowers in knots (113:4).
    And from the evil of an envier when he envies." (113:5).

    October 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  5. myklds

    Kiss my ASS!

    October 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  6. hippypoet

    We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty SUN,
    Creator of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    Through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy LIGHT WAVES
    he became incarnate from the Merry people,
    there will be no judging the living and or the dead,
    and his kingdom will have no end.

    We believe in the LIGHT, the Lord, the giver of life,
    With the SUN he is worshiped and glorified.
    He has spoken through the Prophet Hippypoet.
    We believe in one holy SUN and Church of eternal LIGHT.
    We will look up towards the heavens,

    October 14, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  7. Enoch

    Is the Protestant and Catholic world working alongside the Muslim one to destroy the Orthodox Christian world....again?

    October 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Sahih International
    And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, "Bring us a Qur'an other than this or change it." Say, [O Muhammad], "It is not for me to change it on my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. Indeed I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous Day." (10:15).

    Say, "If Allah had willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you, for I had remained among you a lifetime before it. Then will you not reason?" (10:16).

    So who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about Allah or denies His signs? Indeed, the criminals will not succeed. (10:17).

    Sahih International
    Say, "O mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul, and whoever goes astray only goes astray [in violation] against it. And I am not over you a manager."

    And follow what is revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and be patient until Allah will judge. And He is the best of judges. (10:109).

    October 12, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  9. Muneef

    They Quran came as a "Furqan" to all creeds of the Abrahamic Faith...

    Al Furqan – Is the Criterion (between truth and falsehood). It is another name for the Quran.

    Islam is a restrictive religion in the eyes of those who think that modernization and the development in the technologies are hindered by Islamic teachings. This concept of the modern world has drawn misty clouds over righteous deeds and presented them as sins.

    The word furqan is an Arabic word that means Criterion or Standard. The instinct and nature of man is based on a balance between good and evil. When this balance is lost either man becomes a devil or he enters the blessings of Allah.

    The meaning of this word is to distinguish between good and evil. Again Allah says in the in surah e furqan:

    “And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin; The punishment shall be doubled to him on the day of resurrection, and he shall abide therein in a basement; Except him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

    Fitra of mankind

    According to Islam it is the fitra of a man that motivates his actions and defines his role on the course of life. The common needs of a man are food, shelter, and protection. The most important thing is success that everyone is looking for. Quite a number of people go under the influence of the method of attaining their goals by hook or crook means. The things provided to man are just to test him. So the people committing sinful acts are most of the times taking advantage of what they are provided with.

    October 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      "A Question raised as to why do majority of so called Muslims then follow hadiths and other books besides the holy Quran? God almighty answers the question. Fortunate people are not too many!
      [The Quran 6:116]  If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess."

      Following other than the actual Holy Books which were replaced by other books such as that happened to "Torah" into "Talmud" and Gospel " and Old Testament into some New testaments... While some Muslims had taken other than Quran as a book or adopted some informal translations or explanations that could be misguiding and where only we are able to recognize this by the use of our Fitra as a Furqan to tell which could be which otherwise if not we will become as programed robots "Brainwashed"...
      Interesting informative link;

      October 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Mubarak, Obama, Netanyahu and Yassin are to meet on a bridge somewhere in the Middle East. Place to be determined and secret. The meeting is to be secured by Interpol. The leaders need to think about one thing they each want. They will be granted this desire. The focus should be the benefit of their citizens. They then need to also come to an agreement on one thing they mutually agree on focused on the advancement of humanity. This is God the Father’s message and desire. He will send His son Jesus if these men will meet. This message is directly from God. Please get this to the right persons to make this happen.

      Jennifer Green

      October 12, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Muneef

      Too late a new world system is emerging as it seems with new stage actors as ruling individuals, super power countries and new world international currencies...Just hope will not be worst than what we had experienced for the last many decades...

      October 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • .........

      plz don't waste time reading hit report abuse on all reality posts

      October 13, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  10. Mo

    Islam will dominate Europe, USA soon. period.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • iShepherd

      hmmm....let me guess...you sound like an outsider, an imposter, who is trying to instigate and provoke people.

      October 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • yusef o' carroll

      MO you and your evil sect of hate filled spam came to my country uninvited 100s of years after we lived in peace, you will never rule the world , you will burn in hell in the very same place as your prophet muhammed is right now, on the right hand side of satan . the Masiah will wipe your dirt ridden span from the earth, praise the true God(JESUS) GOOD RIDDINS FROM EVERY COPT

      January 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  11. Coptic Girl

    THIS IS MIDDLE EASTERN CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE ; the same like what happened in Libnan, Sudan , Iraq and now in EGYPT. There is no violence from the christian side. There were many group massacres like this one within the last year alone. Many churches burned, homes and stores of christians were burned and people killed with no one condemned in 40 years of violence except one person only. Coptic Orthodox Christians ARE NOT FIGHTING BACK (the max that happened is throwing stones back at people who throw them with bullets, stones and fire (gasoline lit in glass bottles). This was a peaceful demonstration and yes only thousands went because three days before the army shot live bullets at christians in the same spot and sent them home with force besides a LOT OF ARRESTS. Your comments are completely biased and untrue
    please watch some truth at http://islameyat.com/video_player.php?id=6422&

    October 12, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  12. gupsphoo

    Christianity is no better than Islam. Both will seek to eliminate other religions as long as they're in power.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • asdf

      Islam is a 7th century cult like scientology. The reason it is so widespread is because it originated so early in the history (first mover's advantage) and used violence and unfair treatment of other religions to spread. The reason it is spreading now because it co-opts the mythology of Christianity and Judaism and feels familiar, otherwise it has all the trappings of a cult.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • ThinkForYourself


      By moving the dates back a bit earlier, you could substi.tute Christianity for Islam and have an equally valid argument.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  13. hippypoet


    there is no need to fight over something that is equal to the toothfairy, and yes joshua did steal my quarter, what a loser... i hope someone nails his @ss to a cross one day!

    some years later...YAY! 🙂 he he , i'm a prophet!

    October 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  14. Muneef

    More about the Coptic Church;

    October 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  15. C.Cantu

    The power vacuum created by the ex-tyrants in the Middle East has been filled by Muslim clerics and extremists. Even Israel is sensing the transformation, new Arab governments are becoming hostile, aggressive, more intolerant and trying to diplomatically isolate the state of Israel. I perceive a new cycle of more hatred, resentment, violence, terrorism and discrimination. The Salafists are leading the revolts against Christians, these guys ere the most cruel, intolerant and bloodthirsty. ironically their name "Salafists" translate as the "Most Pious" of all Muslims.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  16. bas75252

    Perhaps the Egyptian government should start by replacing antiquated laws that creats insurmountable obstacles for Christians to repair, renovate or build new churches!!!!

    October 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  17. The Bobinator

    And here is an example of violence that only could have originated because of religous values.

    October 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Richard Kaiser

      Uhhhh,,, Police forces and the military,,,, battling with Muslim and Christian 'citizens',,,,seems to be more than just a religious upheavel. Ya think that Egyptian Secularism may be part of the equation?

      October 11, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Ya think that Egyptian Secularism may be part of the equation?

      Why would secularists target any one specific faith. Makes no sense. What does make sense is the whole "your god isn't right, ours is!" nonsense that is at the root of the hate and violence.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Richard Kaiser

      @ The Bobinator,,,,,,

      According to CNN on Dish, police and military forces are tangling with Muslims and Christians who seem to be gathering together,,, May be wrong I might be,,,might not though.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  18. Richard Kaiser

    Could someone please tell me what is meant by "Coptic Christians"? I am somewhat a dummy in the "Coptic" side of the equation. To me, Christians are those, (myself included) who believe in a 'savior' that will take one's soul/spirit after the body is deadened and give it a new body upon a new earth within a new heaven. So, please will someone tell me what "coptic" means,,,,,,

    October 11, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Anglican

      The Coptic Christian Church the largest Christian church in Egypt, thus coptic christians, much like Anglicans, Catholics etc. The term was around before the council of Nicea.. Peace

      October 11, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Richard Kaiser

      @ Anglican,,,,

      I understand what the "Coptic Christian" Church is but, "What does the term 'Coptic' mean?"

      October 11, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Forevercoptic

      Coptic simply means Egyptian

      October 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • CopticGuy

      Copts are the Christians of Egypt... Coptic literally means Egyptian in the ancient Coptic language (a successor to Hieroglyphic)... Copts believed in Christianity since the first century when they were ministered by St. Mark the writer of the second gospel. Egypt stayed as 99% Christians until the 7th century when invaded by Muslims. Copts now count more than 10M or 15M (actual count not released by Egyptian gov).

      October 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Coptics, ironically, may comprise the "true church". They pre-date the Council of Nicea and base their teachings upon the gospel of Mark, which is the one gospel that is "bare-bones", and doesn't include the mysticism and resurrection, nor the "divinity" of a holy spirit or the "virginity" of Mary. Later, attention was called to the Roman Emporer being the head of the church, and the conflict which that association created.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • ***


      October 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      Richard K.

      For further informations on what you asked to know;


      October 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  19. AGuest9

    This splintering was bound to happen. This is what happens when oppression is thrown off. If you look back to the late 80s and early 90s with the fall of the old USSR, the former factions of religious and ethnic groups came back to the fore-front after the oppresive regime of the Soviets disappeared. Mubarak is gone and "freedom" emerged, and along with it, all of the old, oppressed hate.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  20. William Demuth

    Bloodbath any minute

    October 11, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Anglican

      I am afraid you are correct. Not much hope for interfaith relations, but hope springs.

      October 11, 2011 at 9:53 am |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.