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  • » 08/05/2013, 00.00

    EGYPT

    As anti-Christian attacks continue, trial against Muslim Brotherhood leaders set for 25 August



    More clashes are feared as the Brotherhood continues its sit-in despite bans by the army and the Interior Ministry. General Al-Sisi talks to Salafists. Envoys from the US, EU, UAE, and Qatar visit Cairo. Al Qaeda accuses Christians of complicity with the "coup" as attacks on churches and faithful continue.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - Several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are set to go to trial for "incitement to violence" on 25 August. The news reported yesterday could further radicalise the Brotherhood in its confrontation with the military following the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. Meanwhile, threats against Christians by pro-Morsi groups are increasing.

    The Brotherhood's supreme leader, Mohammed Badie (pictured right), who is on the run, and two other leaders, Khairat al-Shater (pictured left) and Rashad Bayoumi, currently in jail, have been accused of inciting violence among their followers at the time of the massive anti-Morsi demonstrations on 30 June. Other members have also been accused of killing protesters.

    Morsi, who is under house arrest, has also been accused of involvement in violence when Mubarak fell and of cooperation with Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules in the Gaza Strip and that has been blamed for a string of attacks against Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai.

    However, the trial could drive the Brotherhood towards violence. Since Morsi's fall, its members continue to occupy two squares in Cairo, in spite of warnings and threats from the military and the Interior Ministry for the end of the demonstrations.

    General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of the armed forces, continues to send tough messages alternating with calls for dialogue.

    Yesterday, he met Salafist clerics Sheikh Mohammed Hassan and Mohammed Abdel Salam, who are close to the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, stressing "that there are opportunities for a peaceful solution to the crisis provided all sides reject violence," an army spokesman said.

    However, the Brotherhood responded with a statement saying that the two Salafists had no mandate to negotiate on its behalf

    In recent days, the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have sent envoys to Cairo to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis. But as one Egyptian observer noted, all these representatives have come to see Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, but none have sought to see minority leaders.

    In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood has made it clear that it does not intend to change its position. Morsi's removal is a coup and Brotherhood's members will continue to demonstrate for his reinstatement.

    In a recent statement, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the medical doctor who heads al Qaeda, has come out in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood. He blamed Morsi's overthrow on "American plotting" with the backing of the military and the Coptic minority.

    The last point highlights a growing danger for Christian communities who have seen a rise in violence since Morsi's ouster against individual Christians, priests, and churches. Indeed some priests have been murdered and various churches have been attacked and vandalised.

    As if in response to Zawahiri's call, a group of pro-Morsi militants arrived at the Church of Saint George yesterday in Sohag (Upper Egypt) and placed an al Qaeda flag on the roof of the building, shouting slogans exalting Islam.

    Also yesterday, groups of fundamentalists entered a church in Girga (Upper Egypt), shouting slogans against Patriarch Tawadros, threatening to do away with him.

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    See also

    05/10/2011 EGYPT
    Attacks against Coptic churches, part of a plan to expel Egypt’s Christians
    In Upper Egypt, Salafis attack two churches are in less than three days. A plan hatched in Saudi Arabia would see Egypt come under an Islamic regime without any place for other religions.

    13/09/2013 EGYPT
    Minya, Islamists seize a Protestant church and turn it into a mosque
    The Christian community of Monshaat Baddini in the province of Samalout report that, Islamists have occupied the place of worship since August 14. The police never intervened to stop them. For almost a month, no Christian can enter. On the wall of the church an inscription reads "mosque of martyrs ."

    08/08/2013 EGYPT
    Egypt PM issues ultimatum, telling Muslim Brotherhood to leave protest camps
    Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi tells Muslim Brotherhood protesters "to quickly leave, and return to their homes and work, without being chased." Islamists are in the streets to protest Mohammed Morsi's arrest. After their diplomatic mediation fails, Western diplomats leave a country in a dangerous political deadlock where the Brotherhood and the Armed Forces continue their tug of war.

    19/07/2011 EGYPT
    Army slowing reforms to sink revolution
    The economic crisis is killing the ideals of the Arab spring. The military are against democracy, and refuse to hand over former regime officials to the justice system. More than US$ 9.5 billion in aid are still lying unused in state coffers. Sources tell AsiaNews that they fear the rise of a theocratic regime with the tacit agreement of Western nations.

    06/07/2013 EGYPT
    As Islamists opt for hard line, police open fire, more than 30 dead
    The wave of clashes began last night with protests in support of Mohamed Morsi. With 12 deaths, Alexandria has been the worst affected. Violence has also been reported in Suez, Qina, Assiut and Ismailia. At least 1,138 have been wounded and injured so far. Muslim Brotherhood leaders say they will continue to be in the streets until the president is reinstated.



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