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Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt: Politics, Society and Interfaith Encounters

Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt: Politics, Society and Interfaith Encounters
Henrik Lindberg Hansen

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The subject of Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle East and indeed in the West attracts much academic and media attention. Nowhere is this more the case than in Egypt, which has the largest Christian community in the Middle East, estimated at 6-10 per cent of the national population. Henrik Lindberg Hansen analyzes this relationship, offering an examination of the nature and role of religious dialogue in Egyptian society and politics. Analysing the three main religious organizations and institutions in Egypt (namely the Azhar University, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Coptic Orthodox Church) as well as a range of smaller dialogue initiatives (such as those of CEOSS, the Anglican and Catholic Churches and youth organisations), Hansen argues that religious dialogue involves a close examination of societal relations, and how these are understood and approached.

The books includes analysis of the occasions of violence against and dialogue initiatives involving Christian communities in 2011 and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013, and thus provides a wide-ranging exploration of the importance of religion in Egyptian society and everyday encounters with a religious other. The book is consequently vital for practitioners as well as researchers dealing with religious minorities in the Middle East and interfaith dialogue in a wider context.

Author Info

Henrik Lindberg Hansen lived in Egypt from 2004 to 2010 where he worked with dialogue. He then moved to London, where he was awarded his PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Hansen is currently lecturing on these topics in Denmark.


'This study is a timely contribution to a hitherto neglected area, and highlights the vital importance of religion in Egyptian society and politics. Based on many years of experience on the ground, it greatly enhances our understanding of the dynamics of interfaith relations in Egypt. It sheds light on the different types of religious discrimination which occur, while also providing an innovative typology of the various dialogue initiatives in contemporary Egypt. Using the tools of sociology and social psychology, this book will be of interest to scholars, students and those working in the field of interfaith dialogue.'
Dr Kate Zebiri, Senior Lecturer in Arabic, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

'Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt is essential reading for all those interested in today’s Egypt. The book is an important contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of Egyptian society and politics, as well as being a major addition to our knowledge of Christian-Muslim relations. Henrik Lindberg Hansen adds penetrating analysis to the authority of long experience. The book ends with an especially valuable chapter on the controversial events of 2011 and 2013, on their impact at the time, and on their possible future implications.'
Prof. Mark Sedgwick, Arab and Islamic Studies, Aarhus University

'The networks that operate in Egyptian society are involved and hard to discern, yet they are essential to maintaining relations between both individuals and groups. In this study, Henrik Lindberg Hansen, who has spent many years living in Egypt, shows how dialogue between Christians and Muslims operates through these networks and profits from the links they provide. His study gives a rare insight into unseen aspects of dialogue in Egypt, and makes an unusual and distinctive contribution to research in the field of Christian-Muslim dialogue. This book will give both newcomers and established researchers in the field fresh understandings of the practicalities of dialogue and the intricate relations between Egyptian society and religion.'
Prof. David Thomas, School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham


Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Modern Religion

ISBN: 9781784532031
Publication Date: 29 Jun 2015
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 216
Width: 138

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