Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

10 Copts wounded, 59 Muslims arrested following sectarian clash in Egypt

Egyptian authorities arrested 59 Muslims on Saturday and charged them with arson and incitement of sectarian strife after clashes with Coptic Christians on Friday, Reuters reported the same day.

Tensions rose in Behma, 40 miles south of Cairo, after Friday prayers, leading to clashes. Christian-owned houses and shops were set on fire and roughly 300 Muslims and 200 Copts fought with sticks, bricks and firebombs. The circumstances in which the clash began are still unclear. According to sources, the violence has been triggered by controversy over church construction.

The ability to freely construct churches, has long been a central grievance for Egyptian Copts.

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