The "Coptic question"

I have a new piece on the recent Coptic clashes at MERIP:
For years, the Egyptian government and state-run media have brushed off acts of hostility toward minority Coptic Christians, or periodic Coptic-Muslim clashes, as exceptions to a rule of "national unity" and inter-communal brotherhood. But the sectarian street battles in Alexandria in mid-April, set off by knife attacks on Coptic worshippers, have lifted the lid on the sensitive "Coptic question." The newly vigorous public debate is very much rooted in the political ferment of 2005, including increased sectarian tensions, but also the vocal dissent from the regime and the gains of the Muslim Brotherhood in December's legislative elections.

Issandr El Amrani chronicles "The Emergence of a 'Coptic Question' in Egypt" in Middle East Report Online:
http://www.merip.org/mero/mero042806.html
Let me know what you think.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.