Angry After Massacre, Egypt Rioters Target Christian Neighborhoods

Desperate 'Retaliation' Targets Nation's Religious Minority

Yesterday’s high profile massacres across Egypt, which killed many hundreds of protesters and wounded several thousand others, is going to have untold consequences across public life in Egypt for years to come.

But in the immediate aftermath, the outrage from supporters of the ousted Morsi government is desperate for an outlet, and some rioters are turning on the nation’s Christian minority for no apparent reason as somebody to “retaliate” against.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian population is nearly 10 million strong, a large minority with an ancient presence in the nation. Politically they have tended to support secular factions, and after a lot of the secular groups jumped on the coup bandwagon last month, the Christians have found themselves as an easily targeted scapegoat.

Yet Egypt’s Christians weren’t involved in the coup itself, nor is there any indication they have benefited in any way from it. On the contrary, the military’s coup brought the military and Mubarak-era remnants into power, but the massacres it is carrying out in an attempt to retain power are hurting everyone else, directly or indirectly.

Correction: Because of a typo, the article previously put Egypt’s Coptic Christian population at “nearly 100 million.” Though exact figures are impossible to come by, most put the figure at 10-15% of Egypt’s population of 85 million, which ballparks it at 10 million.


Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.