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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
ASIA
Vigil for persecuted Christians, our teachers in the mission in the West
by Bernardo CervelleraThe "wall of indifference and cynicism" and the silence and apathy so often denounced by Pope Francis have become almost a fortress. Such persecution reflects confessional manipulation, which slams Islam as such, and ideological manipulation, which forgets what is happening in North Korea or China. An increasingly post-Christian Europe seems disinterested in Christians.
RUSSIA – CHINA
Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory
by Marta AllevatoMetropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.
VATICAN
Pope: We and the four new saints, witnesses of the Resurrection "where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident "Francis proclaims four religious sisters saints: one French, one Italian, two Palestinians: Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary, and the Carmelite Maria of Crucified Jesus (nee Maria Bawardy). Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority present. "Abiding in Christ" and cultivating “unity among us" are essential signs of witness. Maria Bawardy, "instrument of encounter and communion with the Muslim world".

Dossier

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