EGYPT – Christian leaders in Egypt reflect on persecution of Coptic minority

Crux | Christopher White | Nov. 27, 2019

Inside the offices of Bishop Anba Makarios, leader of the Orthodox Coptic Christians in Al Minya, Egypt. (Credit: Christopher White/Crux.)

AL MINYA, Egypt – Two bishops, one Catholic, the other Orthodox, have remarkably different takes on how Christians are being treated in what is considered to be one of the hotbeds of Christian persecution in Egypt.

170 miles south of Cairo sits Minya, a Nile city known as the “jewel of Upper Egypt,” which includes the highest percentage of Christians in one place, roughly a third of its population of 6 million. The majority of the population is illiterate, which has also contributed to widespread unemployment, and Christian social service providers operate the bulk of the region’s schools and clinics.

For Bishop Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, leader of the region’s Catholics, he believes “the Catholic Church has no problems in Al-Minya.” By contrast, Bishop Anba Makarios, leader of the region’s Coptic Orthodox Church, says, “the highest percentage of Christian murders in Egypt come from Minya” and he believes the Egyptian state should look into the roots of such hostility, and not merely deal with it at a surface level.

“There is a difference with dealing with the symptoms and dealing with the root causes,” he insists.