The vast majority of Egyptians are now Muslims, forcibly converted over the centures from Coptic Christianity but some have held on with varying degrees of political and economic power over the centuries because of their once dominant position. Many converted though as the Moslems started to win and gain more territory through jihad & so made the once omnipotent Coptic Christian their servants who had to pay “dhimmi” or taxes for protection.
The word Dhimmitude, coined by Bat Y’eor, is the colloquization of the “dhimmi” and “tude” and refers to how the Moslems force the majority populace to grant them special privileges which they then in turn use to gain power. Once they are in control, they then have the previous majority PAY them dhimmi or protection money. Basically it’s a big racket.There was actually a good article, somewhere on how Islam is very much like the Mafia, but I lost it, otherwise I’d give the link now.
These levies were withdrawn in the 19th century, however, as part of Ottoman reforms aimed at modernizing government, and centralizing power in Istanbul which is why the Turks and their modernization efforts have not been favorably viewed by staunch Moslem society. This led to an economic resurgence that lasted roughly until the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy, and the advent of the modern Egyptian state (Nasser et alia) in the early 1950s.
Since then, Copts have sporadically complained of marginalization and harassment, especially at the hands of Islamists but few listen. Copts were largely supportive of long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who they perceived as a protector because of his crackdown on Islamists but Obama and his regime got rid of him thru the much vaunted “Arab Spring” and so now they are oppressed, yet again.