Violence against Copts is on the rise and all but ignored by the state. Despite the suffering of the Copts, the Egyptian government insists that there is no sectarian problem and brands as traitors those who draw international attention to the Copts’ plight. So far the US and the rest of the Western democracies, despite repeated Coptic appeals, have done little besides calling upon the Egyptian regime to foster greater tolerance. The “dhimmi” status of the Copts will not be changed by sweet persuasion. It will only change by persistent domestic struggle supported by international pressure. The Copts do not demand the tolerance of Muslims but rather equal rights with them.
Zaki is a former managing director of the Ibn Khaldun Center, a nonprofit organization that supports democracy and civil rights in Egypt and the Middle East.