“Public Order” engages the public nature of holy personhood by examining how the church and state regulate the publicity of miracles across the Christian-Muslim divide. Building on the overlap between Christian and Islamic worlds of holy visions and healing, it turns to the case of a Coptic woman whose dream led to controversy between Christians and Muslims along the Suez Canal. This chapter centers on the miracle-icon of the Virgin in Port Said and the efforts of Egyptian security officials to manage its public circulation. It shows how the policing of public order led to the polarizing segregration of Christians and Muslims, transforming the material circulation of holy power in the process. The containment of the icon, made into a “communal” image, continues to generate new suspicions, rendering open shrines into outposts of secrecy.
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