The largest Christian community in the Middle East, Coptic Christians make up the majority of Egypt’s roughly 9 million Christians. But Coptic Christians are a significant minority in Egypt, and they face discrimination and play a lesser part in Egyptian public life than their numbers justify. In some parts of Egypt, the government will not grant permits for churches, and tens of thousands of worshippers are literally left to pray in the street. There have also been violent attacks on Copts and their churches by Islamists. Because of religious discrimination in Egypt, Christians suffer from persecution in various ways. Islamic culture fuels religious discrimination in Egypt and creates an environment causing the state to be reluctant to respect and enforce the fundamental rights of Christians. Though President el-Sisi has publicly expressed his commitment to protecting Christians, his government’s actions and extremist groups’ continued Christian persecution attacks on individuals and churches, leaving Christians feeling insecure and extremely cautious. The state also makes it nearly impossible for believers to get any official recognition of their conversion. Coptic Christians base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark. Their language descends from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, according to the World Council of Churches. The word ”Copt” is a Westernized version of the Arabic ”qibt,” which is derived from the ancient Greek word for Egyptian, ”Aigyptos.” Hundreds of Coptic monasteries once flourished in the deserts of Egypt, but today roughly 20 remain, as well as seven convents, operated by more than 1,000 Coptic monks and about 600 nuns. Deadly bombings by Islamic State at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt late 2018 that left over 40 people dead, brought attention to a long-persecuted religious minority with ancient roots. Though Egypt has approved applications for more than 500 churches (out of 3,000 filed over the last two years), Christians of all backgrounds still face difficulty in building churches or finding a place to worship together with other believers.