Monday, January 31, 2011

Faces of the Copts -the native Egyptian

The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt. Christianity was the majority religion in Roman Egypt during the 4th to 6th centuries and until the Muslim conquest, and has remained the faith of a significant minority population until the present day. Their Coptic language is the direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian spoken in the Roman era, but it has been near-extinct and mostly limited to liturgical use since the 18th century.

Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of Egyptian population.[13] Most Copts adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The remaining (around 800,000) are divided between the Coptic Catholic and various Coptic Protestant churches.

As a religious minority, the Copts are subject to significant discrimination in modern Egypt, and the target of attacks by militant Islamic extremist groups.

Living in a country of Muslim majority, the size of the population of Copts is a continuously disputed matter, frequently for reasons of religious jealousy and animosity. Some official estimates state that Christians represent from 5% to 10% or less of a population of over 83 million Egyptians while other independent and Christian sources estimate much higher numbers, up to 23% of the population.

Coptic population in Sudan is at about half a million or 1% of Sudanese population.

(source: wikipedia)

Outside of Egypt and Sudan, the largest Coptic diaspora population is in the United States and Canada, US population numbering about 200,000 (estimates of Coptic organizations ranging as high as a million). Canadian population at about 255,000.

Smaller communities (below 100,000) are found in Australia, Kuwait, Libya, the United Kingdom,France, South Africa,

Minor communities below 10,000 people are reported from Jordan, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and elsewhere.

Many Copts are internationally renowned. Some of the most well known Copts include Boutros Boutros-Ghali the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sir Magdi Yacoub the internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, Hani Azer the world leading civil engineer, billionaire Fayez Sarofim one of the richest men in the world, and Naguib Sawiris the CEO of Orascom.

(source: wikipedia)

Hope that the latest development in Egypt, and the outcome of the uprising, will give better protection to the minority, and their basic human right is protected by the new government.

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