Growing up in Egypt during the 80s I witnessed a transformation of Egypt from a tolerant society where people lived in religious harmony into a more divided sectarian society, sometimes tensed and even violent other times. It was the rise of Islamism times. We (Christians of Egypt) could watch the Egyptian society (overwhelmingly influenced by Islam) getting more Islamist every year and symptoms were as clear as Darwin’s evolution chart. You can simply see number of men growing beards and wearing the white gelabiya while women wearing veils and even burka growing dramatically, number of mosques increasing, loud speakers during Azan getting louder. Another very important symptom accompanied the more Islamic look our society adopted was more animosity towards Christians in Egypt that reached violence in many instances. We Christians reacted by withdrawing from public life and reaching back to our Coptic (native Egyptian) roots to become our identity. We Christians could see the transformation of Egypt Moslems in our closest friends. Egyptian Moslems in their turn could be classified into 3 groups, one group who turn into hardcore islamists (believing Islam their identity not Egypt) , second group and I think it was the majority is the confused group, and third group which was not big in numbers were straight out seculars.
Since Muslim brotherhood took control of Egypt society changed dramatically and became split into 2 groups pro islamists group and anti islamists group. Anti islamists group include all Egyptian Christians and big percentage of Egyptian Muslims. The old confused muslim group became almost none existent. From Muslim point of view I think anti islamists Muslims realized for the first time the danger of Islamism on their way of life and on Islam as they understand it. Christians on the other hand was able for the first time to draw a clear line between islamists and Muslims. Current clash in Egyptian society is between 2 different islams, one Islam that is tolerant, modern, and humane. Another Islam (Islamism) that is exclusive and not tolerant and mostly outdated. Which Islam will win? I don’t know the answer to this question. The answer will not just affect Egypt but it will affect the whole world and I can go further by saying it will affect life on earth. As Christians we can help Muslims against Islamists by drawing a clear line between attacking Islamists and attacking Islam.