Thursday, April 20, 2006

Explosion of Sectarian Violence Feared.

Egypt's latest bloodletting between Christians and Muslims has many fearing an explosion of sectarian violence in the Arab world's most populous country, fueled by frustration with plummeting living standards.

Increasingly radicalized Muslims, facing growing unemployment, have found it easier to take out their anger on the small Christian minority than confront the government of President Hosni Mubarak, social commentators say.
"It's a war with ourselves, with fanaticism and hatred among the sons of this nation," said Mohammed El-Sayed Said, an Egyptian political analyst. "What makes things more dangerous is that it is that the poor and marginalized who have become part of these clashes, which gives it a popular depth that is hard to control."
The latest clashes erupted Friday with knife attacks at three Coptic Christian churches in the port city of Alexandria. Three days of rioting by Christians and Muslims followed. Two people — a Christian and a Muslim — died, at least 40 were wounded and more than 100 were detained.
"Egyptians have become Muslim or Christian first, they only become Egyptians first in football stadiums," said Sherif Youness in the Egyptian independent daily Al-Masry el-Youm.
Observers elsewhere in the Arab world blame the same religious extremism that fueled violence between Christians and Muslims during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war and the sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that plagues Iraq today.

Strife between Egypt's Muslims and Christians is nothing new. The Copts, whose liturgy follows Eastern Orthodox Christian traditions, were a majority in Egypt when the Muslim Arabs conquered it 1,400 years ago.
They now comprise about 10 percent of Egypt's 73 million people. Modern tensions are fueled in part by a perception among some Egyptian Muslims that Coptic Christians control an inordinate amount of wealth compared to their population.
In January, a Copt was killed in fighting with Muslims and police over an attempt to turn a guest house into an informal church without government permission.
In October, Muslim militants attacked churches in Alexandria protesting the distribution of a DVD they deemed offensive to Islam. Four people were killed in weeklong riots.
In reality, most Copts are not wealthy and many contend they have too little say in Egypt's political and social life. They complain especially of job discrimination in the high ranks of the civil service where positions such as general, provincial governor and faculty head are almost invariably held by Muslims.


At 12:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should be like a call to open minded and sensible Moslems to work with Copts to avoid the destruction of Egypt.

At 7:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a historical fake which I cannot understand how to remain untill now.Christians in Egypt are not minority by ethnic point of view and muslims are not arabs.
christians and muslims are all coptic i.e Egyptians.And what is happening now is a false shift of economic and social problems.Who is the responsible of this dellema ? State and retarded stream inside and Israel with arab kingdom outside .

At 2:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Egyptians should work together to find solution to poverty, violence and the lack of freedom. I agree with the article; the problem is not Christian-Muslims based, but the religious outburst violence is a result of deeper social and economic problems.
So Let us be careful in our reaction so we can mobilize all people for the good of all Egyptians. We need to be mature and civilized so as not to alienate any one from the universal struggle for equality for all.
Egyptian Muslims are as victim as Egyptian Christians, and we have no enemy except ourselves.
So let us all work for freedom, equality and human dignity for all.

At 10:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


What you say is very reasonable. But it means that there is a big responsibility on the Moslems, especially the Egyptian ones. They have to be brave and open their mouths. They must have the guts to stand up to the terror of the fanatics among them.

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