Christian leaders called off a peaceful sit-in protest this spring after the protesters were attacked by Muslim thugs.
Egyptian Coptic Christians stop a man trying to throw a stone during clashes in front of the state television building where they were protesting against recent attacks on Christians and churches in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 15, 2011. Egypt’s top Christian leader called on his followers Sunday to end a weeklong sit-in in front of a government building on the Nile after a mob attacked the Christian protesters and their supporters, injuring 67. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Nearly 93,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt since 19 March, a report by an Egypt-based Coptic NGO has said.
The number may increase to 250,000 by the end of 2011, according to Naguib Gabriel, the head of the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights, which released the report.
The current trend of Coptic immigration endangers the structure of Egypt’s population, Gabriel told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday. He urged the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Egyptian cabinet to work on curbing the phenomenon.
Gabriel based the data stated in the report on information from Coptic churches and communities abroad.
“Nearly 16,000 migrated to California, while 10,000 moved to New Jersey, 8000 to New York, and 8000 to other American states,” according to Gabriel. “Around 14,000 left to Australia, 17,000 to Canada, and 20,000 settled in the Netherlands, Italy, England, Austria, Germany and France.”
Gabriel attributed the Coptic emigration to hardline Salafi groups seeking to apply Islamic law, deny Copts senior government posts, and reduce incoming tourism. He also blamed attacks on Coptic churches and the government’s failure to bring attackers to justice.
Coptic author Kamal Zakher said the numbers in the report were exaggerated, but that concern over Coptic immigration is justifiable.