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» 07/28/2011
EGYPT
Minya: young pregnant Coptic woman attacked by a Muslim man over Coptic church bell
The wounding of the woman led to a clash between Christians and Muslims in the small village of Ezbet Jacob Bebawi that left six people injured. The attacker was opposed to the new bell in the local Coptic church. A source talks to AsiaNews about the lack of police presence and anti-Christian violence after Mubarak’s fall.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – More clashes between Christians and Muslims in Minya (Upper Egypt). On Monday, Ezbet Jacob Bebawi, a small village just outside the city of Samalout, saw a group of Muslims attack with iron rods and farm implements a group of Copts who had come to the rescue of a pregnant Coptic woman who was being beaten by a young Muslim.

Security forces brought the clash to an end but not before people were injured. However, they arrested only Christians in connection with the event, including the husband of the woman, the latter for weapon possession.

According to Fr Estephanos Shehata, of the Samalout Coptic diocese, "The real reason behind this assault was the church bell, which has greatly angered the Muslims in the village."

The clergyman explained that most residents of the village are Christian, and that until recently, there were no problems with local Muslims.

Christian villagers believe the assault was premeditated, noting that the village has a very weak presence of security forces.

At present, they fear another attack, especially since Muslims have been slowly congregating in the village.

Following the fall of Mubarak, Christian communities in Upper Egypt and regions far from the capital have been the victims of Muslim attacks.

A source told AsiaNews that the situation is due to poor security and police indifference. Muslim culture and illiteracy also play a fundamental role, which increases the chances that both sides will act on rumours.

“Sectarian diatribes and clashes have always been commonplace in Upper Egypt,” the source said. “In our country, 45 per cent of the people are illiterate. People are influenced by imams and Muslim extremists and do not act rationally but by instinct. In this climate of widespread impunity, violence has increased, sometimes for futile reasons, which often lead to religious conflicts.”

As long as the constitution is not changed, Christians will be in danger in Egypt, the source said. “Democracy is still far despite the winds of change brought by the Jasmine Revolution. Secular-oriented people are still a minority”.

The young Christians and Muslims who played such a large role in the protests in Tahrir Square must enter in politics and work to ensure that the Arab spring does not turn into hell. (S.C.)

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See also
07/29/2011 EGYPT
Tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square to protect Egypt’s Arab and Islamic identity
07/19/2011 EGYPT
Army slowing reforms to sink revolution
10/14/2011 EGYPT
Truth and justice not lies and superficiality on massacre of Copts
by Bernardo Cervellera
06/23/2011 ISLAM
An "ambiguous" Arab Spring and a "squalid" West
by Bernardo Cervellera
05/02/2012 EGYPT
Clashes between demonstrators, soldiers and hooligans leave 11 dead, 50 wounded

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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