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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
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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