In the wake of the ISI and al-Qaeda threats against Egypt, this attack indicates that there are those who seek to exploit the protracted tensions between Muslims and Christians to destabilise one of the Middle East's largest and most influential states. It is easy, and perhaps accurate in the case, to blame foreigners for inciting this act of terrorism. But the solution is not only in boosting national security. Egyptians, both Muslim and Christian, will need to see a comprehensive investigation into this attack and to ask themselves honest questions about the existence of religious discrimination in Egyptian society. Real initiatives, not hollow gestures, are needed to address concerns about the safety of churches and the security of the place of non-Muslims in Egyptian society if Egypt is to be able to stand firm against terrorism, regardless of whether that terrorism is domestic or international.
Amidst all the confusion and competing information about what happened in Alexandria early on Sunday morning, this reality stands outs: it is the endemic religious discrimination and broad absence of acceptance of the other in Egyptian society that leaves the country so vulnerable.