Monday, May 9, 2011

Twelve dead in clashes between Copts and Muslims in Cairo

Barcelona / Cairo (Writing and agencies) .- The Minister of Justice of Egypt, Abdel Aziz al-Gindi, warned that the government will respond with an "iron fist" against those who pose a threat to national security after clashes sectarian produced from this Saturday left 12 dead and 230 wounded. The minister added that the authorities immediately implement laws that criminalize attacks on places where exercising freedom of worship.

The violence on Sunday with a church in the humble neighborhood of Imbaba caused at least five wounded. Soldiers cordoned off the area and fired into the air to disperse the crowd. The churches of the district are being monitored by police to prevent further attacks. On Saturday night, hundreds of conservative Muslims went to a church in Imbaba because they suspected that there had been kidnapped a woman who recently left Christianity and converted to Islam, witnesses said.

Shots were fired and petrol bombs were thrown. The Supreme Council of Egyptian armed forces said today that 190 people arrested on Saturday will undergo a military trial. "The 190 arrested during the night will face military trials to impose deterrent penalties on any attempt to interfere with the destiny of this nation," he said in a statement Egypt's governing body temporarily.

The Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, canceled the visit he had planned for today in Bahrain and his Cabinet convened an emergency meeting. The woman, who allegedly was held in the church, had converted to Islam to marry a Muslim. Romantic relationships between members of different religions are often triggers of violence in Egypt.

The women of both religions are generally not allowed to marry men of other faiths. Shortly after the incident in Imbaba, Coptic Christians marched on the state television headquarters in protest against violence. Also addressing the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, where they announced that they will remain there until the American ambassador to talk to them about what they consider "injustices against the Christian minority." In early March, clashes occurred between Muslims and Copts in Cairo killed 13 people and injured about 100.

The trigger for the violence in the suburb of Mokattam were protests at the destruction of a church in southern Cairo. Coptic Christians account for Egypt, inhabited mostly by Muslims, between ten and 15 percent of the population. MilitarUn trial judge military court in respect of 190 people found these clashes, said Sunday the Egyptian Army.

This Sunday also heard several rifle shots isolated Imbaba, Cairo neighborhood where the incidents, according to Reuters was able to see the terrerno. The neighbors have warned people to avoid the area around the church of St. Mina, where this morning relative calm reigned.

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