The new Coptic Christians Pope for Egypt was recently named. Bishop Tawadros took over the reins of the largest sect of Egyptian Christians during trying times for the religious minority.
The discrimination against Christians is not a recent event in Egypt. However, the uprising that took place last year determined an increasing number of attacks against the minority members. Former President Hosni Mubarak promised to ensure their protection against radical Islamists, yet he continued to discriminate in areas such building houses of worship. During the recent occurrences, several churches were attacked and burned to the ground.
A recent event took place in a small village out of Cairo where several Christians were injured while heading to church for Sunday mass. Other less violent events meant to discriminate against the religious minority had several Christians facing trial under accusations of blasphemy. One man was sentenced to spend six years in jail for posting a cartoon on his Facebook account considered insulting towards Islam and the president.
During his tenure, Tawadros’ bishopric had to face a series of attacks, as well. The church had a part of its land seized and community centers ran by the church were attacked. In both cases the authorities failed to solve the issues presented by the bishopric leaders.
Even though the Christian community seems to be leaning towards having the church seize its political involvement and allowing their members to engage in their public life as individuals rather than part of the community, the new appointed Pope considers such direction hard to follow given current political and social conditions.
The Coptic Orthodox is the biggest Christian sect of a religious minority that makes up for 10 percent of the Egyptian population. Tradition tells that the Coptic Church was founded in 50 AD by the apostle Mark and separated from the other Christian churches in 451 AD due to a difference of opinion regarding the nature of Christ.