Copts have complained about restrictions placed on
building churches in Egypt [Getty]
Expatriate Copts are holding their first conference in Egypt, the country where their faith was born.
 
Their name is derived from the Greek word Aigyptos, meaning Egypt, and their Church, which split from Rome and the Eastern Orthodoxy in the fifth century, is one of the oldest in the world.
 
Christians, mostly Copts, form around 10 per cent of Egypt's population, while Muslims make up 90 per cent of the country's 80 million population.
 
Generally, the two religions have lived in relative peace, although tensions have risen in recent decades.
 
Copts claim they are discriminated against in the workplace and political arena, and complain of restrictions placed on the building of churches.
 
Is this first conference in Egypt a symbol of greater openness between the Copts and government authorities?
 
Are their claims of discrimination justified, and what is the future for Egypt's minorities?
 
Inside Story's Hashem Ahelbarra investigates.
 

This episode of Inside Story airs on Monday, February 11, 2008 at 17.30 GMT
 

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