With a population of over 100 million people, Egypt is the largest country in the Middle East. It is also number one when it comes to Christian presence. Admittedly, there are no exact figures. But even if one accepts the state authorities’ probably understated figure of five per cent, there are more than five million Christians living in the country. The churches estimate this figure to be more than 15 million.
Most Christians on the Nile today say that they have never been as well off as they are now. President Abd el-Fattah as-Sisi is considered a great friend of Christians. He has churches built at state expense and has legalised churches that were once built without a permit. He declares national mourning after attacks on Copts and has the perpetrators brought to justice. All of this is positive, but it is difficult to reconcile it with what as-Sisi is best known for in the West: as an autocratic ruler who shuts down critics and leaves little room for the opposition.
After Syria (3/2018), Lebanon (4/2020), Armenia (1/2021), Jordan (2/2021) and Israel/Palestine (4/2021), we dedicate this issue to Christians in Egypt and explore the question of what Christian life is like on the Nile today. What effects does the government’s pro-Christian policy have on the churches, on the coexistence of Christians and Muslims, and what risks still exist today? This is not to ignore the fact that the human rights situation in Egypt remains somewhat of a problem. However, the focus on Christians gives us the opportunity to understand a facet that is otherwise easily overlooked.
As always, Schneller Magazine reports on news from the Schneller schools in this issue, such as the support programme for children with learning difficulties at the Theodor Schneller School or the opening of the new carpentry workshop at the Johann Ludwig Schneller School. We also accompany you to an exciting consultation in Beirut and report on the controversial debate about a research paper on Israel and Palestine.