Islamist group denounces potential holiday violence

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Dec 2013

The political wing of Egypt's Islamist Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya group warns against 'sinful and criminal' bloodshed during Christian holidays

Head of the Building and Development Party Safwat Abdel-Ghani, (Photo: Al-Ahram).

Egypt's Building and Development Party – the political wing of the ultra-conservative Islamist group Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya – warned in a statement on Tuesday against "planned and staged" violence during upcoming Christian holidays.

One of the staunchest allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya – which itself formerly adopted violence until renouncing it in the 1990s – is opposed to the current transitional government ruling Egypt.

The party said such "sinful and criminal" violence may harm innocent Egyptians and ruin Christian festivities. The statement also suggested the current government may be implicated in the violence.

Referring to Brotherhood supporters, the party urged "revolutionaries" to stay away from churches and parks during Christian holidays – held on 7 January for Coptic Christians – so as not to bother them.

The dread of potential blasts has risen as a result of the militant attacks which spiked after the July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Initially centred in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula, the attacks have recently extended to additional governorates.

Egypt witnessed three explosions over the past week. A bomb rocked the Security Directorate building in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on last Tuesday, killing 16 people and injuring more than 135.

On Sunday, four soldiers were injured in an explosion near the Sharqiya Governorate's Military Intelligence Headquarters, while on Thursday a smaller explosion near a public bus in eastern Cairo's Nasr City injured five people.

Also, numerous attacks against churches were reported following the forced dispersal of the two main pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo and Giza on 14 August, which left hundreds dead and thousands injured.

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