The Copts flee Egypt

An exodus of the historic Christian minority puts the country’s economy at risk

An exodus on a biblical scale is currently underway. Hundreds of thousands of Coptic Christians have left Egypt in the wake of tensions triggered by the fall of Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent rise to power of the Islamist faction under President Mohamed Morsi, also ousted from power after one year. The country’s instability has left the entire Coptic community facing an extremely tough choice: stay in their homeland and be persecuted, or flee and bring more than 2,000 years of history to a close.

Historically speaking, Copts are one of the Christian groups to have suffered the most under the Arab advance in North Africa. The Coptic Church is the leading Christian community in Egypt and the whole of the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the area. An accurate figure for the number of Copts is difficult to obtain. They are estimated to represent at least 10% of Egypt’s population of 80 million, but official data may be kept low by census officials thought to be rigging the statistics.

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