ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — A group of armed Muslims marched May 7
on Saint Mena Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the oldest churches in Egypt, and
the resulting violence caused at least three deaths, news media reported.
Witnesses said Muslims and Christians exchanged gunfire in Alexandria, sending
people running for cover, according to a May 8 report from CNN.
Intensified violence between Muslims and Christians in Egypt over the weekend
sparked an emergency meeting of the country’s Cabinet, CNN reported. Spokesmen
for Egypt’s Coptic Christians issued calls for international protection.
In Cairo, at least 12 people were killed and 232 others were wounded in clashes
outside a church where rumors spread that a Christian woman who converted to
Islam was being held against her will, CNN said. Egypt’s Prime Minister, Essam
Sharaf, postponed a trip abroad to hold the emergency meeting.
A small group of Coptic Christians gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo May
9 to condemn the government for not doing more to protect them and called for
international protection of the country’s Christian community, CNN said.
Christians and Muslims debated as soldiers blocked access to the U.S. embassy.
In Cairo’s Maspiro neighborhood, bricks were thrown from rooftops on
predominantly Christian protesters demonstrating in favor of national unity.
Chants of “with our souls and blood we will sacrifice ourselves for the cross”
were heard, according to CNN. Military riot police separated the demonstrators,
some of whom were Muslim, from hostile onlookers.
Tensions between Muslims and Christians have increased after a recent U.S.
government report highlighted hostility directed against the minority Copts in
the predominantly Muslim society, CNN said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor and senior writer
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