» 05/22/2012, 00.00
Islamo-Christian violence in Minya: life imprisonment for 12 Copts, eight Muslims acquitted
The conviction for the death of two Muslims, during the assault on a Christian village. At the base of the fighting, a street brawl, which ended with a beating. Activists and legal experts criticized the ruling, which is not appealable. Only the military council has the power to seek a new trial.
Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - An Egyptian court has sentenced
12 Coptic Christians to life imprisonment and acquitted eight Muslims, in a
trial heavily criticized by human rights activists and legal experts. The
ruling came yesterday, at the end of a trial called to shed light on the
sectarian violence last year in the province of Minya, in the southern part of
the country, about 220 km from Cairo. Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher and expert on
Egyptian law, emphasizes that "the acquittal of the eight Muslim
defendants" shows that "the investigations started from the beginning
by the attorney general are unfair and wrong" because there was
"clear evidence of guilt against them, for having set fire to Christian
The accused Christians were sentenced for inciting public
disorder, possession of illegal weapons and the murder of two Muslims. The
incident happened in April 2011 and has helped to exacerbate a situation of
deep inter-religious tension in the area of Upper Egypt, which then continued
in the following weeks (see AsiaNews 06/27/2011 Upper Egypt, violence against Christians on the rise.
Eight houses burned).
The violence erupted when a Muslim minibus driver, angered by
the presence of a speed bump outside a house owned by a wealthy Christian, got
into a fight with the house's security guards. Upon returning to his home
village, the Muslim driver assembled a group of people to get revenge for the
alleged wrong and the violence suffered.
The retaliation squad was joined by groups of Islamic
extremists, who surrounded the homes of Coptic Christians, intending to launch
an attack. In fear of being overwhelmed, the inhabitants opened fire from the
roofs of buildings, killing two people in the crowd and wounding two others. In
the days following, Muslim groups torched dozens of Christian houses and shops
to avenge the dead.
The eight Muslims on trial were accused of illegal possession
of weapons and having burned the Christians' buildings. However, the court
ruled for aquittal of the charges.
The judgment delivered by the judges of the State Security
Court is not appealable and the 12 Christians risk spending the rest of their
lives in prison. Only the military council could - in what is a very remote
hypothesis, moreover - request a retrial.
Despite wall demolition, tensions remain high at the St Bernadette-Sang Timur School compound
Former President Abdurrahman Wahid urges people to engage in dialogue. Catholic authorities refrain from comments because of tense situation.
Extremists attack a peaceful Muslim-Christian conference in Surabaya
Members of the Islamic Defenders Front stopped an interfaith meeting by force. The images caught on video were posted on YouTube. Complicit with the violent protesters, police detain event organisers. Orthodox Christian activist notes the conference had the right permits, bemoans rising intolerance.
Faisalabad: Christians, not Muslim extremists, behind attack against the Grace Ministry Church
Sajid Masih, one the two men wounded in the incident, confirms this version of events. Initially, blame was placed on a fundamentalist group. A property dispute is behind the attack. Faisalabad vicar warns that yellow journalism could undermine interfaith harmony.
Muslim extremists and authorities shut down Protestant church in West Java
The village chief in Mekargalih, along with members of the Islamic Defender Front, expels Christians from their place of worship for allegedly engaging in “proselytising” in a predominantly Muslim area. A Christian woman complains, “Police have no guts against this radical group.” Pancasila principles are violated.
A 38-year-old man dies in targeted killing in Karachi
Gunmen shot Arnold Archie Dass in cold blood. The attack occurred in a formerly Christian enclave. For decades, Muslims have been moving into the area and buying up homes and land, pushing out Christians. Karachi is Pakistan’s murder capital: 800 people have been murdered in the first seven months of 2011.
Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda
In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution
Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.
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