28. Fitnah: The day and night subject of conversation in Egyptian governorates

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The authors shed light on recent sectarian incidents that have taken place in different governorates in Egypt.

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Last Thursday the Ministry of Interior announced it had arrested a terrorist group aiming at reviving the activity of jamā‘āt al-takfīr wa al-hijrah. In their confessions, the members of the group stated that they committed a lot of serious crimes, including robbing gold shops owned by Copts to fund their schemes. They further confessed that they were behind the murder of the Coptic jeweler in al-Zaytūn. This in turn has brought to minds the notion of istihlāl [Reviewer: the justification of commiting what would otherwise be considered a crime].
In al-Daqahliyyah, Mīt Ghamr, the Prosecution continued its investigations into the incident of sectarian violence that took place in Kafr al-Barbarī and resulted in the killing of Muhammad Ramadān, 19, and Imīl Yūsuf Girgis being accused. It was an ordinary quarrel between two young men that had nothing to do with religion. However, it escalated and some youths tried to render it a sectarian fitnah. Zaynab Hamdī, the general secretary of al-Wādī al-Jadīd Governorate and member of the committee referred to as the Committee for Pacification and Reconciliation, stated to ’al-‘Arabī’. She stressed that the families of the deceased and the killer have good relations besides strong commercial and agricultural ties.
In Beni Suef after the sectarian incidents in ‘Izbat Bushrá ended, new sectarian clashes broke out in ‘Izbat Girgis. The trouble started when a group of Muslims gathered after al-Jum‘ah prayer to attack Christians for repeatedly holding masses inside the house of Sam‘ān Shihātah, the priest of Julius al-Aqfahsī Church. Seven persons from both sides were injured and 18 Muslims and Christians were arrested. Some of the heads of local courts intervened to achieve a reconciliation, and Muslim and Christian men of religion held a civil reconciliatory session to resolve the clash and agreed that a church be built far from the village’s mosque and that the rioters be punished.
On another side, the negotiations held to put an end to the sectarian fitnah in al-Minīā that lasted for more than 13 months were successful. The clash began in May 2008 when the monks of Abū Fānā Monastery were injured as a result of a dispute over a piece of land owned by the state between them and Qasr Hūr Arabs which also led to the killing of Khalīl Ibrāhīm Muhammad Muftāh,32, from Qasr Hūr. Majdī Raslān, the Arabs’ lawyer, stressed that both parties attended before the attorney general of the prosecutions of southern Minīā to agree on the reconciliation, and to change their previous reports in the police statement so as to end the clash.

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