- (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
As violent clashes take place in Egypt, some in the media are wondering whether Coptic Christians in the country were better off under the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Since the Arab Spring began, Coptic Christians have experienced frequent attacks against them.
On Jan. 1, 2011, a car bomb set off at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 more.
Last month, a riot broke out when Coptic Christians and liberal Muslims were protesting the burning of a Coptic Orthodox Church in which over 24 people were killed by Muslim fundamentalists. It was the worst case of sectarian violence in Egypt in 60 years.
In a separate incident in October, a Christian student was told to remove a cross around his neck. The student refused and was beaten to death by his teacher as well as his classmates.
Andre Aciman of The New York Times lived in Egypt and says he was targeted for his Jewish faith.
"The problem with Egypt is that there is no public trust. There is no trust, period. False rumor, which is the opiate of the Egyptian masses and the bread and butter of political discourse in the Arab world, trumps clarity, reason and the will to tolerate a different opinion, let alone a different religion or the spirit of open discourse," he testified recently according to a New York Times article.
"I grew up in an Egypt that was inventing hidden hands wherever you looked. Because of my family’s increasingly precarious status as Jews living in Nasser’s Egypt, my parents forbade me to flash my flashlight several times at night or to write invisible messages with lemon ink in middle school. These were a spymaster’s tricks, and Jews were forever regarded as spies after the 1954 'Lavon Affair,' in which Israeli intelligence recruited Egyptian Jews to bomb targets in Egypt," he added.
Barbara Kay of the National post believes Christians had better protection under Mubarak.
"For all the talk of the Arab Spring, many Egyptian Copts must be nostalgic for the days of Hosni Mubarak. Whatever else could be said for him, he at least knew how to deal with Islamists and other hotheads intent on staging pogroms," she wrote.
Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, 2011. Recently, protests have risen again as Egyptians are unsatisfied with the interim military government. Thirty-eight people have died in the November protests.