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Copts
Arabic: qibtiyy (sing.)



Tattoo of Coptic cross

Photo: Mojoey

Group within the Egyptian population considering itself to be the true descendants of the Ancient Egyptians. This is accurate only when the infusion of Nubians, Greeks, Jews and Romans in ancient times is overlooked.
Christian beliefs distinguish the Copts, some of whom belong to the original Coptic church, others the Coptic Catholic church, and a small group being Protestants).
There are few, if any, physical differences between Copts and Egyptians, in general, but Copts can be identified by their wearing a cross around their necks, having a cross tattooed on their wrists, or by their Christian names.
While exact figures are difficult to determine, it is estimated that they comprise 6 million today, slightly less than 10% of the total Egyptian population. Cities with large Coptic communities are Cairo and Assyut. Some smaller towns and villages have a majority of Copts, and in a few all inhabitants are Copts.




By Tore Kjeilen