...Considering the citizenship rights Copts enjoyed in the early-to-mid-20th century, how did things come to this pass? Much of this reversion can be traced to Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, who altered Egypt's Constitution — by adding Article 2, "sharia is the principle source of legislation" — only to be rewarded, ironically, with assassination by the Islamist "Frankenstein monster" he had empowered. Since then, there has been a tacit agreement between the government and the Islamists. As Youssef Ibrahim puts it, the agreement "turned over to Islamists control in media, education, and government administrations in return for allowing Mr. Mubarak's rule to go on unchallenged, setting the stage … for his son, Gamal, to succeed him. As part of the deal, [Mubarak] agreed to feed Egypt's Christians to the growing Islamic beast."
The Copts now find themselves in a dire situation. Magdi Khalil, a human rights activist at the forefront of the "Coptic question," states that "Egypt is on the verge of chaos and change of regime, and there is a plan for Copts to pay the price of this predicted chaos, by directing the surplus violence, hate and barbarism towards them." This redirection onto the Copts is obvious even in subtle things: aside from the habitual anti-Copt indoctrination that goes on in mosques — all of the demonstrations occurred immediately after Friday's mosque prayers. Egypt's state-run public education system also marginalizes, if not ostracizes, the Copts (see, for example, Adel Guindy's "The Talibanization of Education in Egypt.")
More obvious proof of the government's complicity is the fact that, not only has it not prevented or dispersed the increasingly rabid demonstrations against the Copts — the way it viciously and unequivocally does whenever any protests are directed against itself — but Egyptian security, as Magdi Khalil affirmed in a phone conversation, actually facilitates, and sometimes participates, in these mass demonstrations. After all, Islamists who publicly call for the death of the Pope do so, writes Ibrahim Eissa, "knowing quite well that State Security will not touch them, since demonstrations are directed against the Pope and not the President, the Church and not the inheritance issue [Gamal Mubarak as successor of his father]. Those who go out in Jihad against 'inheritance,' democracy and election fraud are beaten mercilessly by security forces, but those who go out to incite sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians believe …that they are the friends and 'buddies' of the police and the State Security."