By Raymond Ibrahim – Special for Coptic Solidarity –
Christians of all denominations account for about 14% of Egypt’s entire population, or roughly 15 million out of the nation’s 105 million.
Based on various records and certificates—baptismal, marriage, death, etc.—these figures were recently provided by Coptic Pope Tawadros II. That he has often been accused of being a dhimmi-like, “yes man” to President Sisi makes his accounting that much more indicative.
Ultimately, these statistics further underscore the extreme discrimination experienced by Egypt’s Christians, the overwhelming majority of whom are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
From here, one begins to understand why the Egyptian government has repeatedly tried to downplay Egypt’s Christian population. In 2015, for example, the Wall Street Journal reported that “The Egyptian government estimates about 5 million Copts.”
Similarly, citing official Egyptian statistics, a researcher once wrote that “the best available census and survey data indicate that Christians now number roughly 5% of the Egyptian population, or about 4 million people.”
Unlike in the West, where the smaller a minority is—think lgbt-peoples, or Muslims—the more the majority is expected to accommodate it, for Islamic nations, such as Egypt, the smaller a minority, the more right the majority arrogates to sideline them. Hence Egypt’s official position that its Christians are a tiny minority.
Now we know that Christians are three times more than habitually reported by the government of Egypt—and therefore are suffering, one can say, three times as much.
Perhaps the best way to underscore what is happening is by analogy. As more thoroughly discussed here, if Christians are 14% of Egypt’s population, that places them in a nearly identical position to Blacks in America, who are reportedly 13.6% of the population.
Unlike Egypt’s Christians, however, whose upward mobility is severely limited, African Americans hold all sorts of public and official offices—including the highest, president (Obama) and vice president (Harris)— beyond their respective percentage and minority status. On the other hand, and as documented here, although the most indigenous demographic to Egypt, Christians hold 0% of Egypt’s most important and prestigious positions, and between 0-2% of virtually every other decent job.
The analogy can be expanded well beyond the situation of Blacks in America. In contrast with Egypt—the most native population of which is excluded—Muslim, Hindu, and other non-Western peoples occupy top posts all throughout the Western world, especially in the UK, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere.
Even by Egypt’s own poor standards, and despite all his lip service and token gestures to Christians, since he came to power in 2014, President Sisi has not included a single Copt in his cabinets, even though there were usually two, and occasionally three, under the Egyptian presidencies of the preceding four decades.
Another example: Last December, Egypt’s Ministry of Endowments announced a new record: an additional 1,200 new mosques were opened in 2022. In response, Egyptian-born Magdi Khalil, an author and public debater who specializes in minority rights, stressed Egypt’s double standards by revealing that there are about 120,000 mosques, and more than one million prayer halls in Egypt, though only about 5,200 churches. Plugging in these newly released numbers—15 million Christians and 90 million Muslims in Egypt—means that there is one mosque or prayer hall for every 80 Muslims, but only one church for every 2,885 Christians.
In short, there are roughly three times more Christians in Egypt than the government admits to—and little wonder, since that ultimately betrays the enormity of the discrimination they experience.
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