Clashes between Salafists and Copts in Muqattam, six died

Ahram Online, Wednesday 9 Mar 2011

While the Egyptian revolution united Muslims and Copts, clashes erupted yesterday and the inflammatory acts are suspected to be state security-orchestrated

boy is seen at a demonstration in front of the Egyptian Television (Photo: Reuters)

Clashes erupted between hundreds of Copts and Salafists (Muslim fundamentalists) yesterday evening in the Zarayeb district of Muqattam, Cairo.

According to the ministry of health there are at least 51 injured as a result of the clashes.

"We have at the clinic the bodies of six Copts, all of them shot," local priest, Samann Ibrahim told AFP. He also confirmed that at least 45 are injured in the clashes.

On Tuesday a hospital official reported that at one person died.

The protests broke out after 1000 Christians held a demonstration in the Zarayeb district to voice their anger over the burning of a Coptic church (Two Martyrs Church) in the town of Atfeeh in Helwan in south Cairo last Friday, which left two dead.

The church was reportedly burned after a fight broke out as a result of the taboo relationship between a Coptic man and a Muslim woman.

The Coptic protesters blocked the Autostrad highway leading to Muqattam for two hours. The protesters clashed with residents from the neighbouring Ayisha suburb.

Around 4pm a group of Salafists headed to the area to demand the release of Wefaa Constantine and Camilia Shehata, two Coptic women who have allegedly converted to Islam and are allegedly being held by the church.

The Salafitst, who wish to return to a more Islamic state, also demanded that Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution, which stipulates that Islam is the religion of the state and sharia (Islamic law) is the principle source of jurisprudence not be amended. Clashes broke out and, according to a security source, the two groups threw stones and Molotov cocktails at each other.

Sources that have been following the trespasses of state security throughout the years highly suspect that state security is pushing for chaos and counter-revolution to save their hide and find proof in their own documents found in state security buildings that detail some of their methodologies.

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