Sectarian violence erupts in Egypt

08 May 2011

Confrontation at Cairo Coptic church leaves nine dead and 100 injured

Clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo have left nine dead and more than 100 injured and a church was set on fire.

According to a report by AP, the two groups clashed after Muslims attacked the Coptic Saint Mena church in the working class neighbourhood of Imbaba. Muslims alleged that a Christian woman was being held against her will because she wanted to convert to Islam.

Outside, military police parked several armoured cars to block off Muslim protesters. They fired their guns into the air as Christians in front of the church and Muslim protesters hurled stones at each other. The Muslim protesters threw firebombs, one of them setting an apartment near the church on fire.

Elsewhere in Imbaba, Muslim protesters threw firebombs at another church, setting it on fire, police officials said. They said the fire was put out.

The events have sparked concern that further sectarian clashes will follow as the violence could make Egypt’s road to democracy more difficult.

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