Who Are Egypt’s Coptic Christians and Why Are They Persecuted?
The majority of Christians in Egypt are Copts – Christians descended from ancient Egyptians.
They make up roughly 10 per cent of Egypt’s 84.5 million population – making them the largest Christian community in the Middle East and North Africa.
The main church is the Coptic Orthodox, which split from the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in 451AD.
In recent years, Christian-Muslim relations have declined dramatically.
Violent outbreaks from radical Islamists against Christians and their places of worship are one of the biggest factors in the deteriorating relationship between the two dominant religious groups.
Egyptian Christians also accused the country’s government of being too lenient on the perpetrators of the attacks.
The main issues for Christians in Egypt are anti-Christian attacks and political instability.
Historically Copts used Coptic language, which derives from the ancient Egyptian language written mainly in the Greek alphabet, which is still used for small parts of Christian services.
In addition to violent outbreaks, Copts complain of discrimination.
In Egypt, there is a law that requires the president’s permission for church construction.