The modern Egyptian state since the days of Mohamed Ali has declared on a regular basis that Copts have equal rights and duties.
With the exception of the liberal period between 1923 to 1952, which witnessed a significant improvement in the situation of Copts in Egypt, Copts still have not be allowed their full rights as Egyptian citizens. During Mubarak's rule, and with the growing power of extremist Islamists, their situation worsened and the relationship between Muslims and Copts deteriorated. The state was not the only one responsible for the deterioration of the situation of Copts, but large sections of people were also responsible as there have been a significant negative change towards Copts in the educational policy and in government administrations and universities. The situation reached a severe congestion that led to bloody incidents in Upper Egypt, such as al-Kosheh, Nag Hammadi, and others.
During the past decades, most Copts surrendered to the status quo and did not protest the painful reality except in narrow limits. Everyone knows what happens when you repair a toilet in a church or when a meeting for prayer by a group of Copts takes place in a small room in Upper Egypt. After electing a Coptic vice president for Wafd Party in the 1940s had become normal, the representation of Copts in elected councils became symbolic through appointment in the Parliament and through the appointment of one minister in the cabinet often to the environment or scientific research.
Prior to January 25, most churches have warned their adherents from participating in demonstrations. But what happened on 25 January was a surprise for everyone. Many young Copts from the first moment participated and were martyred. Many young Copts protested preventing them from participating and a real popular Coptic outburst occurred, led by the young and the elderly who have young hearts. That was followed by Coptic claims to their full rights as citizens, which was great positive development, though it was met by many parties in the state and society with severe resentment.
Lately, when the attack began on 25 January, pressure was put on Copts to return to their previous situation. The electoral system was amended in a way that restricts Coptic votes, which had great importance on the proportional lists. There have been direct and indirect threats to Copts so as not to commemorate the Maspero incident, followed by a sweeping attack on all inhabitants of a poor village in Minya, breaking into their homes, and putting them in chains.
All this was systematic and was a message to all Christians that the relationship between us and you should return to the pre-January 25 situation and you should know your limits.
Copts came out of the bottle and drove off in the fold of the homeland singing freely. They will not move back whatever the circumstances. The church will continue to be their spiritual and religious sanctuary, but the whole country will be their big home where they exercise their political life, art and literature beside the Muslims, as citizens equal in rights and duties.
Oh Egyptian stand up, Egypt is always calling you!