Sectarian violence in Egypt sees two churches attacked in one week

Various reports state that two Christian churches were attacked in Egypt last week, ending in the death of a Coptic man

by The Commentator on 20 May 2013 10:07

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One person was killed and dozens were injured in clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in the north of Egypt last Friday.

Various reports confirm that the clashes, which are said to have erupted on Friday night after the alleged sexual harrassment of a Muslim woman, culminated in the use of molotov cocktails and machines guns against Coptic churches in Alexandria.

The incident left one person, Sherif Sedki Saad, dead by a heart-attack during the clashes, and dozens others injured.

The Euronews website claims the incident started as "a row between two young men" which then became a family feud, spilling over into clashes in which both sides reportedly used "firebombs".

Another report, from the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) claims that another church, in Menbal, was also attacked on May 13th. AINA reports: 

"...a Muslim mob stormed the village church of Prince Tadros el-Mashreki and assaulted a person inside. They hurled stones and broke everything inside the church, including doors and windows. The mob then went along the streets looting and destroying all Coptic-owned businesses and pharmacies and torching cars. The Copts were also threatened to be expelled from the village. According to witnesses, any Copt who was met by the mob in the street was beaten up."

According to one eye-witness, says AINA, 20,000 Muslims were involved in the attack on the church in Alexandria on Friday, with around 1,000 Copts taking part. Security forces were sent out to diffuse the situation and disperse the crowd. They made several arrests on both sides.

The clashes come more than a month after sectarian violence killed seven in Al-Khasous, a town in Al-Qaliubiya.

In January, sectarian violence flared up in the Qena village of Al-Marshada after a Coptic shop owner was accused of molesting a young Muslim girl. Christian-owned stores and the village’s church were attacked.

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