Egyptian Muslim mobs are seething against the country's Christians following a Al-Jazeera television report that the Christians were aligned with Israel and stockpiling weapons in preparation for attacking the Muslims.
Fears for the safety of the Christians are growing after a series of violent threats and mass demonstrations against them, according to the Barnabas Fund – a Christian advocacy and charitable organization based in Britain.
Muslim rage was ignited last month when Al-Jazeera aired the accusations against the Christians . In addition, the Barnabas Fund reported, the anger is being fueled by rumors circulated by Islamist leaders that Christians are kidnapping and torturing women who had converted to Islam.
At least ten mass Muslim demonstrations by crowds numbering in the thousands have taken place against Christians this month. A previously unknown group called “Front of Islamic Egypt” vowed that the Christians would experience a “bloodbath.”
There are reports that Egyptian authorities are behind the demonstrations, which serve them for political reasons ahead of next month’s national election for the lower house of Parliament and the 2011 election for the country's presidency. Christian human rights activists said that the authorities may be trying to channel the country's growing social discontent into anti-Christian sentiment.
Egypt has the largest Christian population of any Muslim nation in the Arab world, estimated at six to ten million. T
In a separate affair, Egypt's Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs compelled a senior church leader to apologize publicly after another church leader questioned a verse in the Qur’an that accuses Christians of being “infidels.”