[Video testimony of attack on Shi’a community in Giza by Mosireen.]
Sectarianism in Egypt usually conjures two categories—the Copt and the Muslim. Last week it appeared that “Sunna” and “Shi‘a” were now in currency. The cold-blooded violence was, everyone agreed, a black day for the country.
But we should not fail to historicize these phenomena. The Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies have done much to vilify Egypt’s Shi‘a. But the state has a longer trajectory of systematically marginalizing this community through targeted political arrest, accusations of treason and heresy, and the erasure of Egypt’s Shi‘i history under Fatimid rule.