The outbreak of the Arab Spring and the subsequent overthrow of Mubarak in 2011 gave way to the rise of Islamists to power. The Muslim Brotherhood’s regime was perceived by the Coptic community, in particular, as a real threat to Copts’ collective identities. In response, ordinary Christians started to organize around religion as well as the religious group to which they belong in order to manage perceived as well as real fears and uncertainties prevailing at the time. This has eventually incited new patterns of communal political activism among Christians, who seemingly embarked on “street politics” rather than “electoral politics” in resisting the incumbent, which was noticeably seen in the massive protests of June 30th, 2013. This thesis is an engagement with the underlying causes and mechanisms that were motivating collective action of Copts during the Brotherhood’s rule. Broadly, it seeks to establish a linkage between religion and politics. Utilizing a social identity theory and a mixed-method consisting of both qualitative and quantitative indicators, I argue that communal behavior of Copts was basically shaped by growing religious fears shared by Coptic constituencies at the time while the Islamists were in office. Dynamics which were transforming religious worries into real action are further discussed. The current thesis contributes to literature on transition through its emphasis on the causes and mechanisms that construct and reconstruct identities of “subaltern” religious minorities (i.e., Egypt’s Copts) during times of sociopolitical transformation.
Political Science Department
MA in Political Science
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Koehler â€Ž, Kevin
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
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El Shamy, A.
(2017).The return of the sacred: Collective action of Copts during Muslim Brotherhood rule [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
El Shamy, Alaa. The return of the sacred: Collective action of Copts during Muslim Brotherhood rule. 2017. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.