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  • » 03/09/2011, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Clashes between Copts and Muslims continue, six dead and 42 injured



    Violence breaks out during a demonstration organised by Copts to demand the rebuilding of a Church demolished by Muslims in Soul last Saturday. The army intervenes to stop the violence. In Upper Egypt, a Christian hospital for the disable is at risk of demolition. A number of Christian-owned homes are torn down.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) – Tensions between Copts and Muslims are growing following violent clashes in Cairo’s Abbasiyya neighbourhood. Fr Rafik Greiche, head of the press office of the Catholic Church of Egypt, said that six people died and 42 sustained injuries during the incident. Violence broke out during a Christian demonstration in favour of the rebuilding of the Saints Minas and George Coptic Church destroyed by Muslims last Saturday. The clergyman said the country’s military-led government might speed up the process of rebuilding the church to avoid an escalation.

    Sources told AsiaNews that clashes began yesterday when thousands of Copts, backed by a number of Muslims, blocked two roads leading to Tahrir Square, raising the ire of car drivers.

    Groups of radical Muslims came to the place and began a brawl with demonstrators, forcing the army to step in.

    According to the sources, when Copts from some of Cairo’s poorest neighbourhoods, victims of Muslim violence in the past, joined the melee the demonstration got further out of hand.

    “Tensions remain in the neighbourhood,” the sources said. “You can hear shots and many families kept their children from school.”

    Egypt’s Coptic community has had to endure injustice and violence at the hands of Muslims for centuries, especially in Upper Egypt, scene of 21 of 59 incidents of sectarian violence registered last year.

    Recently, the governor of Minya (Upper Egypt) ordered without reason the demolition of a hospital for disabled run by the Coptic Church in the village of Deir Barsha. On 28 February, some 10,000 Copts demonstrated against the governor, preventing him from completing the demolition job.

    In the village of Saeed Abdelmassih, the same governor ordered the army to demolish the homes of members of the local Christian community after they refused to pay a voluntary contribution to the governorate. (S.C.)

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    See also

    14/09/2013 EGYPT
    Minya: wedding breathes new life into church destroyed by Islamists
    Mina and Justina are two young members of the Prince Tadros Coptic Orthodox Parish Church. Following their insistence and that of their families, local priests agreed to let them use the church made unsafe by an Islamist attack. In order to create a festive atmosphere for the newlyweds, the community decorated the interior of the building at their own expense. "From childhood, this was our church," the couple said. "This is where we grew up", where the "priests taught us to pray . . . . Now we are happy."

    02/08/2012 EGYPT
    Cairo, 100 Coptic families flee after clashes between Christians and Muslims
    Clashes occurred in Dahshur, a village 40 km south of Cairo. Tensions triggered by a dispute between a Copt and a Muslim, leaving one person dead. Dozens of Christian homes burned and the local church damaged, defended by some Muslim families. Police inertia unveiled in a video.

    04/07/2011 EGYPT
    Sinai: explosion hits gas pipeline built thanks to Egypt-Israel accords
    Sources tell AsiaNews that Islamic extremists placed the bomb because they are opposed to the government’s pro-Israel policies still in place following Mubarak’s fall. More clashes occur in Tahrir Square ; 12 people are injured.

    10/03/2011 EGYPT
    Cairo, Al-Azhar condemns violence against Christians
    The death toll rises to 13 from clashes between Copts and Muslims in recent days in Cairo, after the burning of a church. The violence has mainly involved the landfill district of Mansheya.

    14/03/2011 EGYPT
    Military rebuilding Coptic church destroyed by Muslims
    The building will rise in the same place and be as big as the old one, this despite opposition from Muslim radicals.



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