Sunday, 14 December 2014

Bernat Armangue | The Copts of Egypt

Photo © Bernat Armangue-All Rights Reserved
Amongst all the angst and hubris of the events in Egypt during the past few years, attention should be given to its largest minority group; the Copts, the native Christians of Egypt.

Wikipedia tells us that "Christianity was the religion of the vast majority of Egyptians from 400–800 A.D. and the majority after the Muslim conquest until the mid-10th century and remains the faith of a significant minority population."

"Significant" is the word used by the online encyclopedia, since it's almost impossible to get an accurate number from Egyptian governmental sources.  I also read in The Guardian that no one in Egypt can agree on how many people live in Cairo, let alone the precise ratio of Muslims to Christians. But senior government clerics are quite sure of one thing: there are exactly 866 atheists in Egypt – roughly 0.00001% of the population. Ridiculous, and somewhat reminiscent of Ahmadinejad's assertion that there were no gays in Iran...and the same flaky arithmetic applies to the Copts.

Bernat Armangue's 15 photographs in his Copts In The New Egypt provide us with a sliver of a glimpse in the daily lives of Egyptian Copts. In the current religious climate, no one can tell the Copts' future in their own land, and whether this will lead to increased emigration to other countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia.

Bernat is a Spanish photographer born in Barcelona. He freelanced for various Spanish newspapers, and has been working with The Associated Press since 2005. He covered the Middle East (mostly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), and recently moved to Delhi to cover South Asia.