Egypt Detains Six After Clashes Between Muslims And Christians
Sectarian violence is growing in Egypt where Christian minorities are facing more and more persecution.
Saturday, 16 June 2007 EGYPT (BosNewsLife)-“Six people were arrested, after police broke up the fight which left 13 people injured,” the French News Agency AFP quoted a source as saying on condition of anonymity.
The violence apparently began after Reda Fahmi, a Coptic Christian from the southern town of Madamud near Luxor , was ordered by a judge to give back land to Mohie Abul Magd, a Muslim, following a legal dispute between the two.
Fahmi, along with family members and supporters, allegedly tried to reclaim the land resulting
in a clash between both parties in which six Muslims and seven Copts were injured. It was Egypt ‘s fourth reported sectarian clash in recent days.
On Friday, June 15, fighting erupted between Muslims and Copts in the area of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria following a row between a young Copt and the son of the imam of the city’s Bilal mosque.
Officials and local media claimed dozens of the faithful from both sides began fighting outside the Church of the Holy Virgin in Al-Dekhela district.
However local Christians reportedly blamed Muslim rioters who they claimed attacked the church. Mobs allegedly also attacked Christian-owned shops in several areas of the region, injuring at least seven Christians.
Earlier, several people were reportedly hurt and police arrested 13 Muslims and Copts on Thursday, June 14, said the independent newspaper Al-Masri Al-Yom which added that the incident underlined growing tensions in the port city and elsewhere.
Anti-riot police had sent 35 vehicles to patrol the district inhabited by members of both communities, AFP reported.
The incident however underscored frustration within the Coptic Christian minority in Alexandria ,
a town critics claim divorced itself from liberal traditions and easygoing ways.
Local authorities adopted religious conservatism, with Islamists holding sway, and Christians have complained about the growing influence of Muslim militants in the region. Women have long stopped wearing swimsuits on the city’s popular beaches and those who wish to take a swim do so in the darkness before dawn.
“Alexandrians have lost their traditional ties to the beach and sea,” said Mona Abdel-Salam, 42, an independent journalist in an interview. Elsewhere in Egypt 35 people were arrested this week in sectarian clashes in the village of Saft Meydum , south of Cairo , news reports said.
The latest clashes followed battles last week, June 8, when an angry Muslim mob in Zawyet Abdel-Qader, 32 kilometers (20 miles) west of Alexandria , reportedly vandalized the towns Christian quarter for 90 minutes, before police intervened. Copts are estimated to form up to 10 percent of Egypt ‘s 76 million people, but some church leaders and rights groups have complained about what they see as growing Muslim pressure.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak however has said he will not tolerate Islamic extremism and militants groups. He jailed thousands, while endorsing the execution of dozens since coming to office 25 years ago.
At the same time, however, analysts say his government has sought to match the appeal of Islamist groups such as the Brotherhood by dragging its feet on granting Christians, and women, full rights