One of the very best articles I've found on the topic.
What Replacing Pope Shenouda III Entails, And The Difficult Task Of Representing Egypt's Coptic Christians
Kurt J. Werthmuller
Research Fellow, Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom
Posted: 03/21/2012 12:03 am
"The Coptic Orthodox Church is now tasked with choosing its new leadership, and all of Egypt's Christians face an uncertain future in light of the nation's still-suffering state of public security, its rule of law deficit, and the rising authority of Islamists in Egyptian governance. It is clear that the Copts now need to unite more than ever. But it is also imperative that they seek greater rights, and not as a community that clings to an outdated sectarian order, held over from the Ottoman millet system and thrust upon them by Egyptian state and society. Instead, the Copts must demand, with every means at their disposal, a new order based on full and equal citizenship under a revised constitution. Egypt's existing socio-political order already consistently deal with the Copts as a collective entity, permanently conceived as an internal "Other"; it will be impossible for this to change as long as the Copts themselves -- and their leadership -- continue to willingly surrender to this status quo."