Hudson Institute hosted a lively discussion of Research Fellow Samuel Tadros’s new book Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity on August 22, 2013. Motherland Lost argues that the plight of Copts in contemporary Egypt is inseparable from the country’s quest for modernity. As Egypt’s intellectuals and earliest state modernizers first attempted to grapple with the extent to which their country had been left behind by Western advancements, Copts, too, were confronting a crisis of identity prompted by an onslaught of foreign missionaries and challenging pressures to modernize their ancient church. Narrating the long history of the Copts, Tadros traces their banishment from the public sphere by a series of different regimes, even those otherwise considered Egypt’s most “liberal.” Even today, with unprecedented turmoil in Egypt, the Coptic predicament persists as a central element of Egypt’s quest for a place under the sun.
Samuel Tadros is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Prior to joining Hudson in 2011, Tadros was a Senior Partner at the Union of Liberal Youth, an organization that aims to spread promote the ideas of classical liberalism in Egypt.