Coptic Minorities in Egypt

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The Arab world is often mistaken as a monolithic region that is exclusively dominated by Arabs and Islam. However, the Middle East is an intricate kaleidoscope of diverse ethnic and religious groups. As of recent, the issues of ethnic, lingual, and religious minorities are some of the most important issues facing the Arab world. In particular, one large minority that has shaped and participated in the development of the Arab world is the Arab Christians. The Arab Christians are one of the oldest groups in the region who have intricately protected their beliefs for more than a thousand years. Throughout the discourse of this paper, I will discuss the social, political and historical significance this group has had in one Arab country: Egypt.

The largest Christian group in the Middle East is the Coptic church of Egypt. The Coptic Church stands at just a little over eleven million people (out of a population of 83 million people.) The Coptic Church was established in the 1st century AD, after the arrival of Saint Mark. After a few years, Christianity spread throughout Egypt making it the most widely practiced religion in Egypt. However, after the invasion of Egypt by the Muslims in the seventh century, the religious demographics of the country dramatically changed. It went from being one of the greatest Christian countries to a largely Muslim country by the end of the twelfth century. Many Egyptian Christians converted to Islam mainly because of high taxes that were implemented on them by the Umayyad dynasty. Because of this taxation, this drove Christian merchants to become Muslims in an effort of having a better economic stability. However, a large minority did not convert to Islam, millions continued to practice Christianity despite social and economic difficulties.  

Being in an essential part of Egypt's history, the Egyptian Copts today have had many contributions to Egyptian politics, entertainment, and professional activities. Politically, this small...
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