By Vivian Ibrahim
The Coptic Christians of Egypt have characteristically been portrayed as a "beleaguered minority." This publication makes use of newly chanced on Coptic archival resources to give a shiny and substitute photo of the group, interpreting Coptic service provider within the 20th century. Vivian Ibrahim finds a powerful Coptic reaction to the emergence and threats of Political Islam from the Forties, and examines how Copts negotiated a task for themselves through the colonial interval and in Nasser’s post-revolutionary Egypt. brushing aside the monolithic portrayal of the group, she highlights the various Coptic factions and teams that contributed to the identification of the Coptic group within the first 1/2 the 20th century.
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Additional resources for The Copts of Egypt: The Challenges of Modernisation and Identity (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)
Lord Cromer (1841–1917), who had been British controller of Egypt since 1879, became Consul-General in 1883. His main role was the supervision of all administrative, financial and political changes to be implemented in Egypt, most of which was to be put under direct British control. In the Egyptian army for instance, British officers were promoted to high positions. 6 British advisors were also appointed to Egyptian ministries, their main role was the management of differing aspects of policy. Beginning in 1883, the advisors took control over the Ministry of Public Works, followed by Justice in 1891, Interior in 1894 and Education in 1906.
65 In 1854, when he became patriarch, Abu Islah required all the clergy based in Cairo to attend weekly classes at the Patriarchate, where theological education, along with basic literacy skills, were taught. 66 In order to facilitate many of the educational reforms for the clergy, there was a need for greater dissemination of the tenets and beliefs of the Coptic Church. This was greatly assisted by the purchase of the first private printing press in Egypt which was brought from Austria by Abu Islah and was received with great ceremony in 1859 at Bush, near the St Anthony Monastery.
Cromer, in particular, was keen to promote education to run concurrently with the modernisation that was taking place in the country. ’14 Until 1906, there were only three government run secondary schools in the Egypt, turning out less than one-hundred graduates a year in a country of eleven million inhabitants. 15 Due to the financial constraints facing the bankrupt Khedive Isma‘il, state expenditure on education had reached an all time low in the years 1877–78. Total expenditure for all levels of state education was LE 29,000, this was despite the fact that education had been at the forefront of early khedival modernisation policies.