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< Us Coptic Christians worried about Egyptian riots
Oct 11, 2011 13:58
Category: Religious News

Egyptian Coptic Christians feel like second class citizens

   CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's Coptic Christians have long felt like
second-class citizens in their own country.
     Now many fear that the power vacuum left after the overthrow of
Hosni Mubarak is giving Muslim extremists free rein to torch
churches and attack Coptic homes.
     Once a majority in Egypt, Copts now make up about 10 percent of
the country's 85 million people. They are the largest Christian
community in the Middle East. Their history dates back 19 centuries
and the language used in their liturgy can be traced to the speech
of Egypt's pharaohs. Proud of their history and faith, many Copts
are identifiable by tattoos of crosses or Jesus Christ on their
right wrists, and Coptic women do not wear the veil as the vast
majority of Muslim women do in Egypt.
     Copts shared in the euphoria of the revolution that ousted
Mubarak and like other Egyptians their hopes for change were high.
Mainly, they wanted to be on equal footing with Muslims.
     But shortly after Mubarak's ouster, a series of assaults on
Christians brought home a stark reality: The fading of
authoritarian rule empowered Islamist fundamentalists who reject
the treatment of non-Muslims as citizens with equal rights and
accuse the Copts of trying to spread Christianity in a Muslim
nation.