Dr. Essam Abdullah, a professor of philosophy at Egypt’s Ain Shams University and a regular political commentator on Arabic media, including Al Jazeera, recently made some startling remarks on a televised program: that there are “more than 23 million Copts in Egypt,” out of a total population of nearly 90 million, with an additional 7 million Copts outside Egypt.
The Copts are the Christian, indigenous inhabitants of Egypt, which was a major Christian center—Alexandria one of the three oldest and most revered episcopates, along with Rome and Antioch—before the 7th century Islamic conquest which slowly saw the numbers of Christians dwindle as growing numbers, desiring to slough off the bondage of dhimmitude, converted to the “winning team” of Islam.
Abdullah explained the background of his assertion, while repeatedly insisting that “I know what I am saying and am responsible for my words.”
According to the professor, back in 1991, then-president Hosni Mubarak asked then-Pope Shenouda for the exact number of Copts, which was not being provided by any governmental agency.
So the Coptic Church formed a census committee to provide Mubarak with an accurate number. Dr. Abdullah himself was a member of this committee. The total census was based on four sources:
1) The number of parishes under each archdiocese in each city/region.
2) The birth certificates recorded in each parish.
3) The marriage certificates recorded in each parish.
4) The death certificates recorded in each parish.
According to Abdullah, Mubarak intentionally concealed this information after it was revealed to him, “so as not to cause himself problems.”
Abdullah’s main point was that, because the Copts are 23 million in Egypt, obviously their votes can be very decisive in establishing a more democratic and inclusive government—hence precisely why the Islamists, whether the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafis, terrorize them.