The report marked the first time that Christian emigration has been
quantified since the ouster of Mubarak in February 2011, Middle East Newsline reported. Within weeks of
Mubarak's fall, Islamists, described as followers of Al Qaida, began
attacking Christian communities and churches.
Many of Egypt's Copts were said to have resettled in the
United States in 2011. Copts have also chosen new homes in Australia,
Austria, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
"Copts who are leaving their homeland are not motivated by their need
for work, as they are from the professional and business class, but from
the hardline Salafists," Gabriel said.
The report warned that Coptic emigration would hurt Egypt's economy.
Copts were said to play a major role in finance and light industry.
Over the last six months, Salafists aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood
have attacked Coptic communities throughout Egypt. In one incident,
Salafists prevented the new Christian governor of the Qena province from
taking office. The military regime that replaced Mubarak did not intervene.
"Salafist clerics, who gained political influence after the Jan. 25
revolution, have become emboldened," Gabriel said.
Salafists have already called on Copts to pay the traditional tax
reserved for non-Muslims. They have also warned that Christians would not be
allowed to enjoy the rights of citizenship, including employment in senior
"If emigration of Christians, who constitute nearly 16 percent of the
Egyptian population, continues at the present rate, it may reach 250,000 by
the end of 2011," Gabriel said. "And within 10 years a third of the Coptic
population of Egypt would be gone."