This report, as is to be expected, describes the violence, which left the boy’s father dead, as a “sectarian clash” between Muslims and Christians. However, since the town consists of 25,000 people, and only 3,000 of these are Copts, one can be sure that the violence was initiated and sustained by one “sect” — the Muslims, the majority. And all because of a “rumor” that Muslim property (the girl) was being encroached upon by a Christian infidel.
“Christian-Muslim clashes in Egypt,” from the Media Line, March 8:
An Egyptian town has been placed under curfew after a man was killed and several wounded in inter-religious clashes.
Clashes in Dama’s, in northern Egypt, began after rumors spread that a Muslim girl from the area was involved romantically with a Copt boy.
According to a report in the London-based Al-Quds Al-“˜Arabi, the boy”s father was killed in the clashes, several others were wounded and the police arrested a number of the people involved in the brawl.
Egyptian authorities imposed a curfew on Dama’s, home to some 25,000 people, in order to calm matters down. More than 1,000 soldiers have been deployed there to maintain security.
The religious tension comes at an unfortunate time for Cairo, as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is heading for Washington in the coming weeks and will not want these incidents to draw attention to Cairo’s treatment of religious minorities.
Sectarian tensions are a recurring theme in Egypt. Human-rights organizations accuse Mubarak’s government of discriminating against Copts, who constitute around 10 percent of the country’s 80 million inhabitants, constituting the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
Christian authorities in Egypt accused the government of double standards in handling the recent clashes, and of laxness in defending the 3,000 Copts living in the town.
Rights groups say the Copts in Egypt face discrimination and harassment from the Egyptian authorities. They complain of fewer rights than Muslims, and say they are refused positions of authority in some sectors of the government, the military and the academia.