9. Fifteen people arrested following sectarian clashes in Upper Egypt

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Muslims attacked Copts’ houses and business to stop restoration works on a church in Upper Egypt.

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Al-Hayāh reported that dozens of angry Muslims attacked Copts’ houses, properties and businesses in Nazlat al-Badramān village in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya.
The attacks are said to have taken places after Muslims failed to stop restoration works in Mar Girgis Church. The clashes resulted in seven injuries. The security forces intervened to bring the situation under control.
Security sources told al-Hayāh that the security forces chased angry Muslims that were on the streets. 15 Muslims were arrested.
Eyewitnesses declared that about 50 Muslims gathered the day before yesterday in front of Mari Girgis Church to stop the restoration works taking place in the church, the group was reportedly shouting at Copts. However, the village’s ruler intervened to stop them.
The church’s priest, Father Sarabamoun told al-Hayāh that the church had got all the official authorizations necessary to execute the restoration works on a wall and to rebuild the church spire with a new bell.
He added that the clashes started when five people created a conflict with the builders and asked them to stop the works.
Dr. Najīb Jibrā’īl, Pope Shenouda’s consultant for legal issues called on President Mubārak to intervene personally to issue an urgent unified law for building houses of worship.
[Reviewer: On the same day, al-Sharq al-Awsat reported on the incident as “clashes between Muslims and Christians” on page 10, and al-Misrī al-Yawm reported on a “gathering of about 200 Muslim youth to protest against the restoration of a church.”al-Misrī al-Yawm’s article was on its front page]

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