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?

Largest Christian minority in Middle East

The Copts are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East – about 9 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, or about 7.2 million people. Most of them live in Cairo (where there is still an area known as “Coptic Cairo”) and in Upper Egypt.

Their role in Egyptian politics is minor and Copts complain of systematic government discrimination and persecution in the majority Muslim country.

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