Sectarian conflict and family law in contemporary Egypt

Author: Saba Mahmood

Publisher/Publication: American Ethnologist

Volume/Issue: 39(1)

DOI/ISBN: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2011.01347.

The aim of this paper is to examine the factors behind sectarianism in Egypt with regards to the Coptic community. The author focuses on the issues of religious and sexual difference as well as the secularization of family law in an attempt to illustrate the divide within Egyptian society regarding these subjects. The latter are considered fragments of the Ottoman millet system seem to be at the basis of the reason behind the Coptic support for the Tahrir demonstrations and the Arab Spring. Furthermore, the author stresses that the origins of sectarianism date back before the advent of the Mubarak regime and will most probably endure following its eventual toppling during the Arab uprisings.