Making up about 10% of the population in Egypt, most Egyptian Christians are Coptic Christians. The Coptic branch of Christianity is one of the oldest surviving branches of Christianity. The Coptic Church bears similarities to the Eastern Orthodox. Some of the oldest extant Christian texts come from the Coptic religion. Despite their crucial importance to Christian discourse and religious ideas, the suffering this branch of Christianity experiences in Egypt is not well documented or publicized.
Late at night on Christmas Eve Mass in Naj Hammadi southern Egypt on January 7th there was a vicious drive-by shooting which resulted in the deaths of six church goers and one security official. Despite the official Egyptian report that three suspects have been arrested in association with the shootings, the persecution of Coptic Christians has gone largely ignored in the West. The shooting was said to be an act of revenge for the unconfirmed rape of a Muslim girl in Egypt by a Christian man in November. After the incident in November, Muslims rioted against Christians for five days, destroying and burning down property and causing utter havoc. The Muslim majority in Egypt still felt the isolated incident had not been adequately punished. Furthermore, the incidents regarding Coptic persecution is largely ignored in the Egyptian press.
This sort of persecution should be more widely documented in the West. In America many Evangelical Groups feel they themselves are being persecuted by more liberal Christians and political parties. Ironically while crying out for conservative practices in the face of persecution " in America, their Christian brothers and sisters in less fortunate lands are truly being persecuted, with violence and terror. For Christians in the West, the severity of the abuse done to the Coptic branch should be taken less lightly "as one of the first established Christian groups it is possible that without them, Christianity might not have spread as effectively in Europe in the first place.
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