Who are Egypt's Copts, and the Middle East's other Christian populations?
Recent attacks against Christians in Egypt and Iraq have drawn attention to the Middle East's Christian populations, which are dwindling as Christians flee violence, political strife, and persecution. Christians made up more than 20 percent of the region's population in the early 20th century, but today, they make up less than 10 percent. Here is a look at the status of Christians in seven key countries, from Egypt to Iran.
An estimated 39 percent of Lebanon's population practices Christianity, according to the CIA World Factbook. The 1.6 million Christians are predominantly Maronite Christians, but include a sizable number of Greek Orthodox Christians and small numbers of other denominations.
Christians were once the dominant religious group in Lebanon. But the 15-year civil war that began in the 1970s prompted at least 1 million Lebanese Christians to flee and left the country divided along religious lines. Today, relations between Christians and Muslims are calm and Lebanese Christians retain significant political sway through a powersharing agreement that distributes the top three government positions among the country’s main religious and ethnic groups – Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Shiite Muslims.
(Editor's note: The original article overstated the size of Lebanon's Christian population.)
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