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?

One of the Middle East's oldest Christian churches

The Coptic Church is believed to be one of the oldest Christian groups in the Middle East, and dates its beginning to about 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark visited Egypt.

Copts, whose name comes from the Greek word for Egypt, claim to be descendants of the ancient Egyptians. The religion has had a steady presence in Egypt since Mark's arrival.

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