Christian persecution in Egypt takes various forms. There is general tendency for Christians to be treated as second class citizens, a tendency that is more pronounced in small town and rural settings than in major cities. There are examples of sectarian violence in some provinces, frequently exacerbated by poor police investigation and lenient (if non-existent) treatment in court.
One vile practice is the kidnapping of Christian girls who are then forcibly ‘married’ to a Muslim man. Statistics on this are notoriously difficult due to some cases of genuine love matches being described as abduction by the girl’s parents ashamed of a daughter marrying a non-Christian. Emigration of Christians is a long-standing challenge, rooted in discrimination in employment (especially in the public sector).
Many persecuted Christians working abroad had a religious element within their decision to work abroad. Conversely, in the private sector, Christians own a disproportionate number of businesses, which implies that religious discrimination is typically pro-Christian.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
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“Whilst violent attacks on Christians garner much publicity, it is the systemic, daily discrimination in education, public sector employment, provision of public services, building permissions and other legal processes that has the greater effect on Christian communities.”
— Anglican Bishop of Cairo, May 2017.
History of Christianity
Jesus and his parents spent time in Egypt as refugees fleeing a brutal massacre. The Egyptian church honors St Mark as its founder based on his being based in Alexandria.
The monastery movement played a critical role in times of persecution: in outline, when times are tough, retreat to remote monasteries and maintain the faith; when possible, engage in society to spread the faith and meet human needs.
Today, the largest denomination is the Coptic Orthodox Church whose head is Pope Tawrados II and is part of the Oriental Orthodox family of churches. In addition, there are fully recognized churches belonging to the Catholic and the Protestant families of churches, together with disciples of Jesus from Muslim heritage.