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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Christians Don't Feel Safe in Egypt, Fleeing to U.S. and Europe to Seek Asylum

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2013 Jun 25
  • Comments

Many Coptic Christians are fleeing to the United States and Europe because they no longer feel safe in Egypt, the Christian Post reports. They feel the Islamist government is not doing enough to protect them against discrimination and hate crimes, so they are resorting to fleeing the country. Many Copts are electing to go the United States, a country in which Egyptians now rank as the second highest nationality receiving asylum. In 2010, only 531 Egyptians received asylum in the U.S.; however, 2,882 Egyptians received asylum in 2012, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Copts are also fleeing to Georgia and the Netherlands because both countries have decreased restrictions on those seeking asylum. This comes at a time when escalating sectarian violence appears to be going unchecked by the government. In April, eight people were killed in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims, and Cairo's St. Mark's Cathedral was attacked, prompting Coptic Pope Tawadros II to criticize President Mohammed Morsi for not protecting the church. Other examples of sectarian incidents include the Muslim Brotherhood's leading cleric's decision to advise Muslims to refrain from wishing Christians a Happy Easter. His justification was that the Christian holiday is un-Islamic. Copts face further discrimination when trying to build new churches, as the Egyptian president must issue a presidential decree in order to build any new churches. After one year in office, Morsi has only sanctioned one new church to be built. Copts are Egypt's largest minority, making up nearly 10 percent of its 85 million people.