A Muslim-Christian unity logo appears on a banner at a celebration during Egypt’s January revolution.
Egypt’s transitional government has called an emergency meeting after violence believed to be sectarian broke out in a neighborhood near Cairo and left 10 people dead, hundreds injured and a church destroyed by fire.
The fight broke out in the Imbaba neighborhood after Muslim groups heard that a Christian woman was being prevented from converting to Islam. Members of a fundamentalist Muslim faction appear to be responsible for the attacks, but some observers claim the clash was encouraged by supporters of the ousted Mubarak regime who aim to sabotage the efforts of the transitional government. The army said 190 people were arrested in the violence and will face trial in military courts. —ARK
Initials reports on Egyptian state TV said six Muslims and three Copts had been killed, and there were nearly 200 injured. The death toll later rose to 10. The army, sensitive to alarm about deteriorating security, was quick to announce that 190 people arrested in connection with the violence would be tried in military courts.
... Egyptian media described the attackers as Salafis, strictly fundamentalist Muslims who want to see the imposition of sharia law. The Salafis, often with links to Saudi Arabia, are seen as having gained prominence because security is far less repressive now than before the revolution. It is also widely believed that elements of the Hosni Mubarak regime are encouraging them.
... The incident was quickly condemned by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main Islamist group. “We should crack down on that violence and not let those people ruin what we achieved in the January revolution,” Essam El-Erian, the brotherhood spokesman, warned in a TV interview. “The Imbaba incident clearly shows that there are some people who are still working behind the scenes to ignite sectarian strife in Egypt.”