Coptic Christians.

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    • Abstract:
      Coptic Christians, or Copts, are members of an ancient branch of Christianity—one of the oldest continuous Christian traditions in the world—that began in Alexandria, Egypt, as early as the first century CE. The word "Copt" derives from an archaic Greek term meaning "Egyptian." In the twenty-first century, the Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, with the great majority of them residing in Egypt, where they make up roughly 10 percent of the population (estimates vary). The total number of Copts worldwide may be as high as twenty million. While centered in Egypt, there are communities of Coptic Christians in Syria, Jordan, and Libya, and immigrant populations of Copts have been established in Europe and North America. Though Copts have endured varying degrees of persecution in Egypt for centuries, persecution and violence against Copts intensified in the mid-2000s and 2010s amid political upheaval in Egypt. Additionally, from 2014, Egyptian Copts have increasingly been targeted by the fundamentalist Islamic group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as IS, ISIL, or Daesh).