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Cairo: Muslims and Christians clash in Imbaba

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MashaJF, May 8, 2011.

  1. MashaJF

    MashaJF JF-Expert Member

    May 8, 2011
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
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    At least five people have been killed and dozens more wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo, Egyptian officials say.
    The clashes - in the suburb of Imbaba - came after Muslims attacked a church to free a Christian woman, witnesses said.
    They alleged she was being held against her will because she wanted to convert to Islam.
    Soldiers and police, backed by tanks, fired guns and tear gas to separate the groups, according to reports.
    Eyewitnesses said some 500 conservative Muslims - known as Salafists - gathered at the Coptic Saint Mena Church in the northwestern Cairo suburb demanding to take custody of the woman.
    Deteriorating relations
    Shouts were exchanged between church guards, people living near the church and the protesters, which developed into a fully-fledged confrontation during which the two sides exchanged gunfire, firebombs and stones.
    "I just left one young man dead inside the church," one man, a Christian, was quoted as telling Reuters journalists.
    A parish priest, Father Hermina, told the AFP news agency that the group had attempted to storm the church earlier in the day.
    But one Muslim protester told the news agency that they had first been fired upon by the Copts.
    "They started firing on us. We were peaceful," said the man, who gave his name as Mamduh. "We won't leave until they give up their weapons and the people who killed us are tried."
    Nearby in the same district, Muslim protesters threw firebombs at another church, setting it on fire.
    There were not reports of any casualties but the al-Azraa church was severely damaged in the blaze.
    Relations between Egypt's Sunni Muslim majority and Coptic Christians - who account for about 10% of the population - have deteriorated in recent years.
    However, during the anti-government protests in Tahrir Square, preachers from both faiths addressed the crowds and prayers for Muslims and Christians were respected.

    Source: BBC News - Cairo: Muslims and Christians clash in Imbaba