Egypt Orders Arrests Of Muslim Militant For Stabbing Christians

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife) -- Egyptian authorities on Monday, April 17, ordered the detention of a Muslim who entered a Cairo church with a knife days after another Muslim stabbed six Christians, killing one, in Alexandria, news reports said.

Police reportedly arrested the 25-year-old unemployed man on Sunday when he went into the church in the Egyptian capital, where Coptic Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday.

Prosecutors said on Monday, April 17, he should be held for four days for questioning on suspicion of intending to commit a crime, Reuters news agency reported.

The arrest came shortly after a blood stained weekend in Egypt in which worshippers at three Christian churches came under attack.


The violence began when knife-wielding assailants attacked Christians during Mass on Friday, April 14, several sources said.

Police said one worshipper, identified as Nushi Atta Girgis, 78, was killed and more than a dozen wounded in the simultaneous attacks in the northern city of Alexandria. It was the first attack in recent memory in which in which Muslims attacked Christians inside their churches during worship service, observers said.

Police told media that a total of 17 people were injured: 10 at the Saints Church in downtown Alexandria and three at the nearby Mar Girgis Church. A third attacker wounded four worshippers at a church in Abu Qir, a few kilometers to the east.

They said they were searching for three men, one in each attack. The attack tghat killed the worshipper came on what is Good Friday to many of the world's Christians. However, Egypt's Coptic Christians, and other followers of the Greek Orthodox church, celebrate the holiday a week later.


Clashes broke out between Muslims and angry Coptic Christians in Alexandria in Egypt after the funeral of the killed Coptic worshipper.

Police fired tear gas and tried to separate the groups, who threw stones and attacked each other with sticks, reporters said. Fifteen people were said to have been arrested.

Christians have accused the government of failing to protect them and mourners shouted anti-government slogans as the funeral procession - attended by an estimated 3,000 people - turned into a protest outside the church where the funeral was held.


Coptic Christians account for about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 72 million and generally live in harmony with the Muslim majority, though violence flares occasionally. This weekend's fighting eventually apparently receded after a counter protest organized by Christian and Muslim leaders confronted the rioters, chanting, "Long live the Crescent and the Cross."

Dr. Kamil Sewiris, the secretary general of the Christian Council for the Orthodox Church in Alexandria, said in an interview that the tensions "are the harvest of 30 years of Muslim fundamentalists spreading hate speech from the mosques.”

Violent outbreaks between the communities are not unprecedented, often resulting from disputes over land and construction of churches. In October, Muslims attacked churches and shops in Alexandria over the distribution of a DVD of a play deemed offensive to their religion. Four people were killed in weeklong riots. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from Egypt).

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