Angaelos: Christians facing genocide in Middle East
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Angaelos: Christians facing genocide in Middle East

Bishop Angaelos is the General Bishop of the Coptic Church in the United Kingdom.

His homeland is Egypt, where Coptic Christians have had a significant presence for most of the last 2,000 years - but the numbers are declining in the face of growing sectarian violence.

Bishop Angaelos told BBC Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur: "There is a trend, a very narrowing scope, a narrowing perspective going through the Middle East that only certain people have a right to exist and we need in conscience to address that."

There had been a "deafening silence" about the plight of Christians over recent decades but this was now starting to break, he added.

At least 45 people were killed in attacks on two churches in Egypt earlier this month. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the explosions.

Those attacks carried echoes of the suffering of Christians in other parts of the Middle East - Syria and Iraq in particular.

Across the region there has been a dramatic and sustained decline in the numbers of Christians - to such an extent that some say the persecution amounts to an attempted genocide.

In a few days Pope Francis will fly to Egypt to lend his support to the Coptic community.

You can see the interview in full on BBC iPlayer (UK only).

Go to next video: Who are the Coptic Christians?