Copt-Muslim clash in Cairo renews question: Who are the Copts?

A fatal clash Tuesday between Muslims and Copts in Cairo has turned attention once again to religious tensions, which gained the spotlight after the bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve. In an overwhelmingly Muslim country, where does this religious minority fit in. And who are the Copts?

A global church

Although the majority of Copts live in Egypt, there are about a million Copts spread out across North America, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. Recently, an Islamist website released a list of Coptic churches around the world as potential targets in attacks. While much of the liturgy is still in Coptic, many churches have also incorporated local languages into their services.

There are more than 100 Coptic churches in the US alone. Monasteries have emerged outside Egypt in the US, Ireland, Australia, and Israel.

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