Egypt’s Coptic Christians say they are ‘no longer safe’

Amr Nabil / AP file
Egyptian Muslim women hold a cross in support of Christians during a memorial march in Cairo for Christians who were killed during deadly clashes with Muslims in April.

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CAIRO – Thousands of Egypt’s Coptic Christians are fleeing to Europe, the United States and elsewhere rather than face mounting discrimination at home.

Copts, Egypt’s ancient Christian community, are the country’s largest minority, making up nearly 10 percent of its 85 million people.

But clashes between Christians and Muslims have become more frequent since the ouster of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 uprising – some say due to a breakdown of government security. Many Copts feel Egypt’s Islamist-led government is not doing enough to protect them from religious hate crimes and inflammatory rhetoric – so many are leaving.

“My sister in California wanted a better life for her and her two daughters,” explained Marianne Aziz, a 25-year-old pharmacist. “There was a big fight between us and our Muslim neighbors over our parking place … . They cut my brother-in-law’s face with a knife.”

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