By Danny Stoker
This weekend's attacks against two Coptic Christian churches in Tanta and Alexandria that left 44 dead and dozens more injured was roundly condemned by Egyptians. These attacks and the extreme bigotry and hatred behind them are not representative of the Egypt I came to know and love while living there. However, it would be foolish to deny the lesser and more accepted discrimination against Coptic Christians that exists in the country. Like most things in this world, sectarianism exists on a spectrum. On one end is the extreme form harbored by the so-called Islamic State that carried out this weekends attacks and on the far end is the ideal where people of all faiths are treated equally.
Legal and social discrimination against Coptic Christians is far more common than most Egyptians feel comfortable with admitting. Too few Egyptians Muslims are bothered enough with this discrimination and bigotry to speak out on their behalf. Moderate and Discriminatory attitudes towards Egypt's Christians and other non-Muslims have created an incubator where more extreme views are born. Timothy Kaldas, of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Peace framed this much more eloquently than me when he said:
Despite the role that lesser forms of discriminatory attitudes in fostering those more extreme views of groups like the Islamic State and its affiliates, President Sisi and Egyptian officials will continue to support policies that restrict Christians and other non-Muslims rights to build houses of worship, that fail to protect non-Muslims from work discrimination, and that place Muslims ahead of non-Muslims in government, work, and school and the status-quo described below will continue.