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Repeatedly we hear of reports that Muslims are attacking Christians. One such recent report is a clash in Alexandria in which one Christian died from a heart attack. “A fight started between two young men, one Copt and the other Muslim, when the Copt allegedly sexually harassed the latter's sister. It is not clear from this report what this harassment entailed. The parties involved in the fight reportedly used Molotov cocktails and machine guns” (Full story here).
A number of priests and political groups participated in marches yesterday (May 18, 2013) calling for the withdrawal of confidence for President Muhammad Mursī (Mursi) in Shubrā. Estimates show that about half a million of Copts have signed the petition. This campaign is scheduled to continue until June 30 as priests are urging more Copts to sign the petition in spite of their non-interference in politics (Mustafá Sha'bān and Nuhá 'Uthmān, al-Misrīyūn, May 19, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
The Associated Press stated that, in the light of the arrest of Coptic teacher Dimīyānah 'Abd al-Nūr for disdaining religion, Egypt is witnessing a violent trend of similar allegations that have been launched by Islamists against all who criticize them, especially the Christians. It added that the Copts suffering has doubled since the ascension to power of the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood, pointing to the story of al-Nūr as one of the examples of religious radicalism in Egypt. However, the Copts are not the only ones accused of distorting of religion by Islamists, Muslims also suffer prosecution for religious distortion and for insulting the President (Umnīyah Najīb, al-Watan, May 16, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.
The village of Tahā in al-Minya governorate witnessed fitnah tā'ifīyah due the tackling of Muslims villagers by a member of the Coptic community about digging taking place on Church land. Engineer Mahmūd Sa'd, declared that the new constructions especially the church did not obtain licenses and promised to raise the issue with Governor Dr. Mustafá 'Isá. Ihāb al-Bayūmī, a member of the village, said that the village has three churches despite a Muslim majority (Najlah Fathī and 'Alī Husayn, al-Dustūr, May 15, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.
The Shūrá Council decided yesterday (April 3, 2013) to repeal the article which prohibits candidates using of religious slogans in elections, however this met with opposition especially from Copt who refused it completely. Rev. Andrea Zakī, Deputy Head of the Coptic Evangelical Church, said that the use of religious slogans is inappropriate because it undermines its sanctity (Peter Majdī, al-Tahrīr, Apr. 4, p. 8). Read original text in Arabic.
Hātim Kamāl al-Shāzlī said that his daughter Ranā, who has been missing for seventy days, ran off to Turkey with a young Christian from Beni Suef. Al-Shāzlī accused Coptic clergy of using Salafī Black Magic on his daughter, forcing her to convert from Islam to Christianity. Despite the findings of the local authorities, these allegations have been denied by the Church (Muhammad Hamdī and Muhammad 'Abd al-Latīf al-Saghīr, al-Watan, May 1, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
A number of Christians filed police reports to Luxor Police Station about armed robberies on their lands from gangs. Christians had doubts that the police ignored their reports because months have passed on the robberies without an action. (Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latīf al-Saghīr, al-Watan, May 14, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
Students of the teacher, Dimyānah ‘Ubayd, 23, accused of contempt of Islam and attempting to convert students, have denied her charges. Of the 14 children in her class, ten of them have denied the event took place, whereas three confirm it. 'Ubayd denied the charges and claims that religious extremists incited school students to testify against her. The social science teacher in Luxor has been held under custody for four days pending investigation. The head of the parents association at Sheikh Sultan Primary School brought the charges, made at the Luxor Educational Directorate, against her. Some have claimed that teachers within the school are attempting to start fitnah. 'Ubayd is receiving legal help from the Egyptian Coptic Coalition in Luxor (Nirmīn Majdī, al-Tahrīr, May 11, p. 6). Read original text in Arabic.
During a meeting with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jacob Amitai, Israeli ambassador to Egypt, apologized for Israel's mistreatment of Christian Egyptian Embassy staff in Israel, who were on their way to participate in the Holy Easter Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This action was an attempt to ease tensions between the two states, although Bishop Marqus of Shubrā al-Khaymah stressed that the Jewish state is not concerned with religions as their apology failed to address the attacks on the Church ('Imād Khalīl, al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 10, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
Majdī Sābir, Vice President of the Maspero Youth Union Media Committee, said a million man march will take place on Friday (May 17), and will involve all Coptic and revolutionary movements, all Christian denominations and some political parties. It will start at the Saint Mark Cathedral in al-'Abbāsīyyah and end at Maspero Square, and it will coincide with the 40 days after death of al-Khusūs' victims, other events throughout Cairo, and acts of solidarity for the international Coptic community. Sābir said these events will be open to all to participate as he believes that sectarian tensions affect the whole society not just Copts (al-Duwaynī Fūlī and Muhammad Rabī', al-Misryūn, May 13, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.