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Coptic nationalism refers to the nationalism of Copts (Coptic: ⲚⲓⲢⲉⲙ̀ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ̀ⲛ̀Ⲭⲣⲏⲥⲧⲓ̀ⲁⲛⲟⲥ Niremenkīmi Enkhristianos, Arabic: أقباط Aqbat), an ethno-religious group[dead link] that primarily inhabit the area of modern Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination.
Questions of Egyptian identity rose to prominence in Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s as Egyptians sought independence from British occupation. The Pharaonist movement, or Pharaonism, looks to Egypt's pre-Islamic past and argued that Egypt was part of a larger Merranean civilization. Many Coptic intellectuals hold to "Pharaonism," which states that Coptic culture is largely derived from pre-Christian, Pharaonic culture, and is not indebted to Greece. It gives the Copts a claim to a deep heritage in Egyptian history and culture. Pharaonism was widely held by Coptic scholars in the early 20th century. Most scholars today see Pharaonism as a late development shaped primarily by western Orientalism, and doubt its validity.
Coptic identity as it stands now saw its roots in the 1950s with the rise of pan-Arabism under Nasser. Up to that point, Egyptian nationalism was the major form of expression for Egyptian identity, Copts viewed themselves as only Copts without any Arab sentiment. The struggle to ascertain this Egyptian identity began as Nasser and his regime tried to impose an Arab identity on the country, and attempted to erase all references to Egypt as a separate and unique entity.
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|Design||The Coptic shield on a blue cross on a field of white.|
|Designed by||The Free Copts|
A Coptic flag was created in 2005 by a Coptic activist group called "The Free Copts" as an ethnic flag representing Copts, Coptic identity and as a sign of opposition to Islamic authority in Egypt. It is not recognized by the Coptic Orthodox Church or the Coptic Catholic Church but has been adopted by the New Zealand Coptic Association.
The Coptic Flag consists of two main components: a blue cross and a colorful coat of arms.
The black background behind the ornaments is a symbol of Kimi or Kemet, the Egyptian name of Egypt, which means the Black Land. Beneath these ornaments is a green line in the middle of the coat of arms, which represents the Nile Valley. Around it are two yellow lines that symbolize the Eastern and Western Deserts of Egypt. These two lines are in turn flanked by two blue lines that represent the Merranean Sea and the Red Sea that enclose Egypt. Finally, these lines are separated by red lines symbolizing Coptic blood, which has been shed all over Egypt since Copts adopted Christianity and until today.