How many Christians are there in Egypt?
There are 101.2 million people living in Egypt – Open Doors estimates the number of Christians to be around 16.3 million, totalling around 16 per cent of the population.
Why are Christians persecuted in Egypt?
In Egyptian society, the majority Islamic culture regards Christians as second-class citizens. Religious freedom for Christians is not fully guaranteed, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State has vowed to wage war against Christians in Egypt.
“Even if a terrorist targets the church again, it would be an honour to die for Jesus.” Magid, who was widowed in a bomb attack
What’s life like for Christians in Egypt?
The level of violence against Christians remains extremely high. During 2019, scattered incidents killed at least 23 Christians and injured 124. The danger of being accused of blasphemy, followed by mob violence, is always present. Police and other authorities often will side with the accusers and attackers in order to retain public order.
In 2017, Magid was selling palm branches with his wife, Hannan, and son, Youssef, outside St Mark’s Church in Alexandria when a suicide bomber attacked. Hannan lost her life in the blast, leaving Magid to raise their two children on his own. Single-father families are rare in the Middle East, and it has not been easy for Magid to adjust to life without Hannan.
“It’s not easy to take care of two children on my own, but God gives me peace,” he says.
Egyptian Christians are often victims of social exclusion, and face constant discrimination in areas such as justice, education and basic social services. In rural areas, Christian women have been targeted for abduction and forced marriage. Believers from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families and communities – they may be beaten or expelled from their homes. Thousands of churches are still awaiting official recognition.
And yet, even in the face of terrible violence, Christians in Egypt have shown incredible grace and forgiveness - Coptic Christians were even nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their refusal to retaliate.
How can I help Christians in Egypt?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Egypt. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Through local churches and partners, Open Doors supports the church in Egypt with literacy training, education, advocacy support, medical care and youth, family and women’s ministry.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the steadfast faith of our brothers and sisters in Egypt. May they know how much they are loved and valued in Your sight. Bring home the women and girls who have been abducted and restore them to their families and communities. Please change the hearts of those who wage war against Your people and reveal to them Your great love and mercy.