Posts filed under ‘Discrimination’
The bombing of a Coptic Church service in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year’s Eve is the latest in a line of attacks on Christians in the Middle East. Yet I was surprised by the resulting news reporting. I wasn’t too surprised that the bombing had taken place. After all this was just the latest in a long line of attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt. Add to this the al-Qaeda group responsible for the attack on the Iraqi Caldonians in Baghdad in late October which left over 50 dead, warns that Coptics in Egypt would be next. What I was surprised about was however was the number of Coptics in Egypt.
Coptics (or Copts as they are sometimes called) belong to an ancient Christian religion based on the Orthodox theology. The different Orthodox religions can appear confusing to outsiders, but the differences between them are largely technical. From what I know, and I know many Orthodox Christians of many different churches, they see little or no difference between them. They even attend each others services.
However the fact that 10% of the Egyptian population are Copts did surprise me. I had no idea there were so many, the largest Christian group in the Middle East with over 10,000,000 members no less. Approximately 15% of the country’s population. That is some minority.
What is most disturbing about the attacks on Christians in Egypt, Iraq and indeed elsewhere is how little it is reported outside the Middle East and the systematic manner they are being carried out. Some media outlets do report attacks (try searching for “Iraqi Christians” or “Egyptian Christian” in the BBC News website) but most do not. As an Amnesty member I know the power perpetrators of human rights abusers get from the cloak of invisibility. If the cloak is removed, the world’s eyes see the abuse and will attempt to stop it. Driving Christians out of a country is an approach that does little for religious tolerance, and is a policy that must fail.