During the early centuries after Christ, Egypt was predominantly Christian. In A.D. 969, the country was conquered by Jawhar al-Siqilli and Cairo founded as the new capital, but thankfully Egypt's Coptic Christian church never disappeared. Today, Egypt has the Middle East's largest Christian community. However, the country's constitution gives preference to Muslims and Christians are treated as second class citizens, denied political representation, and discriminated against in employment. The government uses an 1856 Ottoman Empire law to keep any church from being built, repaired, or even repainted without the permission of Egypt's president. Christians are also susceptible to attacks by Muslim extremists, who often go unpunished by Egyptian authorities. In February 1997, Muslim militants murdered 15 Christians inside their place of worship. Last October, the St. Arsanius Coptic Orthodox church was reopened by President Hosni Mubarak after being closed by the government last July.