The year of 2010 was a tense year for Coptic Christians in Egypt, one ending in violence.

A bomb shattered new year celebrations outside a Coptic church in Egypt. Within hours Christian crowds were on the streets in anger - attacking mosques, and clashing with police.

Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, is calling for calm, asking all Egyptians to unite after Saturday's bombing in the city of Alexandria.

Officials were quick to point the finger at foreign elements like al-Qaeda which has threatened to carry out acts of violence on Egypt's Christian minority. But is that really the case?

Who is out to hurt the Coptic Christians? What is the Egyptian government doing to protect them? Is it really trying to bridge the Christian-Muslim divide?

Joining the programme are Maged Reda Botros, a member of the policies committee of the ruling National Democratic Party, and a political science professor; William Wissa, a writer and human rights activist; and Alia Brahimi, a research fellow in Global Security at the London School of Economics.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Saturday, 1 January, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera