Some interesting information in this background piece published in the wake of the New Jersey murders. From Newhouse News Service, with thanks to all who sent this in:
In Egypt, they lived as a Christian religious minority in a predominately Muslim country.
That, along with economic troubles in Egypt, is what led many Coptic Christians to immigrate over the last 40 years to the United States, where several hundred thousand now live, mostly in New Jersey, New York and California….
“I don’t think that Coptic people in the U.S. suffer from anyone,” said Mamdouh Abdelsayed, a Coptic Christian who lives in Kearny. “We are not a minority anymore as we are in Egypt. . Dealing with Muslim people, we don’t have problems. I’m doing my job, they’re doing their job.”
In Egypt, Coptic Christians feel their minority status every day, said Monir Dawoud, 65, who moved to the United States from Egypt in 1975.
“The media is all owned by the government, and the media is all Muslim, praising Islam and minimizing Christianity, making it very tough for Christians to live,” said Dawoud, a surgeon in Hudson County and acting president of the American Coptic Association.
The killings of 21 Coptic Christians in riots five years ago in Kosheh, Egypt, remain a vivid memory for many.
In the United States, leaders of Egyptian Muslim and Coptic communities have tried to soothe relations, meeting several times at the Egyptian embassy in recent years.
“We can show we are the American-Egyptian family. We’re all living here as foreigners,” said Mohamed Younes, president of the American Muslim Union, a New Jersey group. “If we live in peace together, we give a good impression to people back in Egypt.”
Yet some Copts and Muslims say distrust still exists.