This article, which appears in the journal of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations
Vol. 23, Iss. 1, 2012, analyses the representation of Muslim–Coptic relations in the Al-Ahrām newspaper between 2005 and 2010. The primary goal is to assess the strategies and discourses used by this newspaper to represent sectarianism. As scholars note, negative representations of the ‘other’ in the media can contribute to shaping and prolonging conflict. Therefore, Al-Ahrām‘s representation of sectarian incidents is significant for the analysis both of the dynamics of Muslim–Christian relations in Egypt, and of state and church policies towards communal violence. There are three central discourses. (1) The use of selective narratives of history to construct a collective understanding of national unity as a natural state of relations between Muslims and Christians in Egypt. (2) Displacement of blame, which means constructing inter-religious conflict as alien and external through the use of an ‘us versus them’ paradigm in order to shift responsibility for Egypt’s sectarian incidents to ‘outsiders’. (3) The control of extreme religious views through a discourse of ‘extremists versus moderates’.
The full text can be accessed here. or for a limited time: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/AQmjB9smWNY98iZVTrqX/full