Daily Israel Report

Muslim-Coptic Violence Resumes in Egypt

Muslims attacked a Coptic church in a village near Cairo Wednesday in the first such incident since Mohamed Morsi became president.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 8/2/2012, 2:56 PM

Mohamed Morsi
Mohamed Morsi
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Muslims attacked a Coptic church in a village near Cairo Wednesday in the first such incident since Mohamed Morsi became president.

At least 16 people were wounded in the melee, among them 10 police officers, authorities said.

The Muslim rioters were intent on torching the church in the village of Dahshur, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Cairo. They were stopped by police who fired teargas at the mob.

Instead, the Muslim rioters attacked other Christian properties, setting them ablaze, and torched three police cars as well.

The mob “looted and torched shops, including a jewelry store … they terrorized the local community, forcing them to leave their homes,” according to office of the local Coptic Archbishop of Giza.

The cleric's office reported that the entire Christian population had fled the village of Dahshur.

Muslim attacks on the Coptic minority are not unusual in Egypt; Coptic Christians comprise only 10 percent of the population of some 80 million people in the country.

Before the latest elected parliament was dissolved, it was entirely controlled by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt's new president is a member of the same party.

This latest incident was triggered by the death on Tuesday of a Muslim man who was wounded in an earlier clash on Friday. He was burned Tuesday night, sparking Wednesday's riot.

The clash began when an angry Muslim accused a Christian laundry worker of burning his shirt while ironing it. The argument ballooned into a clash that led to Muslims and Christians hurling firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at each other, leading to the man's injury and subsequent death.