This weekend a Coptic Cathedral in the Egyptian city of Cairo suffered a bombing which killed at least 25 and injured scores more. Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 90 million, faced persecution (hostility, ill-treatment and harassment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs) and discrimination during the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 2011. In fact on New Year’s Day in 2011, shortly before the beginning of the uprising against Mubarak, a suicide bomber killed 21 worshippers outside a church in the coastal city of Alexandria. Meanwhile they have faced further attacks at the hands of Islamist extremists since 2013.
Egypt’s Copts make up the largest Christian community in the Middle East. The church is said to have been established by St Mark in approximately AD42 and survived the rise of Islam in the region from the seventh century.