The nation of Egypt is strongly connected to the history of the Christian faith. Right from Joseph’s journey to becoming Prime Minister (Genesis 41:41), the escape of baby Jesus from Herod’s sword to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-23), and several other stories from the bible highlights the significance of Egypt to the Christian faith.
Today, the Coptic Christian faith is one of the world’s oldest Christian faith and it shares strong roots with the nation of Egypt. St. Mark is believed to have initiated what is now known as the Coptic Christian faith in Egypt where he migrated around AD 42.
While Egypt is a multi-cultural and religious society, the Christian faith is the 2nd largest faith in the country, with 92% of Egyptian Christians being Coptic Christians.
The Coptic church has its seat of administration in Alexandria, Egypt, and is currently led by Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of Alexandria, but has spread wide to be the largest Christian denomination throughout North Africa and the rest of the Middle East. The Coptic Christian faith is also spread around other parts of the world and currently boasts about 10 million members worldwide.
The Coptic Christian faith is distinct for its views on Jesus Christ’s fully divine and human nature while on earth. These views are one of the major reasons why the Coptic Christian faith suffers a lot of discrimination from other Christian faiths particularly the Catholic church.
In Egypt however, there seem to be several factors surrounding the marginalization, persecution, violence, discrimination, and economic relegation suffered by Coptic Christians in Egypt. The most prominent of the factors is the predominance of Islam and the government’s body language to issues related to the Christian religion particularly since Coptic Christians are in the minority.
Being a Coptic Christian in Egypt today is tough. The perception among majority Egyptian Muslims suggests that people who share the Christian faith have to prove that they belong and deserve the same rights even though they share the same history and cultures with the rest of the people.
In addition to these, Coptic Christians in Egypt have lost several lives to deadly attacks from Muslim extremists over the years. These attacks continue to increase the threats faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt as they go about their daily lives, and has led to the migration of many Coptic Christians that were originally native to Egypt, to other parts of the world where they can feel safe to practice their faith.
Despite these challenges, it is important to note that Coptic Christians in Egypt continue to challenge the institutional and societal barriers set against them. Recently, more Coptic Christians have begun to attain prominent positions in governance, and several strata of society.
Egyptian Coptic Christians have also been largely worried about their safety in society, and they are constantly pursuing peaceful instruments to make their living better and safer. The freedom to practice one’s faith should not be a challenge in today’s world and it is high time for this to be kicked out so that Coptic Christians in Egypt and people practicing other religions can truly practice their faith without any inhibitions.