On Qufādah and Coptic Tattoos

Sent On: 
Thu, 2014-09-25
Newsletter Number: 

On Qufādah and Coptic Tattoos

AWR, Cairo, September 25, 2014


Ten days ago, the Center for Arab-West Understanding organised a trip to the village of Qufādah in Upper Egypt, about four hours south of Cairo. CAWU has maintained excellent relations with this village since establishing contact with the local Coptic priest Abouna Io’annis in 1999, and later on, other religious leaders including Sheikh Hamdī, to investigate Muslim-Christian relations in the town which remain excellent. The village has a population of a few thousand people, of which around 20 per cent are Copts. 




Right: Sheikh Hamdi, Jonathan Vink (Intern Media),
Abouna Io'annis, Rene Witteveen (Intern Research)
Left: Tattoo of a young copt, Qufadah

Source: Jonathan Vink



The purpose of the trip was to engage local leadership and sponsor proposed local development initiatives, however while visiting, our Dutch social media intern Jonathan spotted a cultural phenomenon that grabbed his attention – the proliferation of tattoos showing religious iconography on some of the younger Copts. Before this moment, he was aware of this practice, but his curiosity was peaked. As a result, we requested he write our newest blogpost for Egypt Today on the history and social implications of tattoos in the Coptic community.


A rich narrative unfolds stretching back hundreds of years. We recommend you read the article here



Cornelis Hulsman

Editor-in-chief Arab-West Report