The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Copt-Muslim clashes

The plot thickens... Here's the Reuters story.

CAIRO (Reuters) - One man died and two others were injured in uncertain circumstances in southern Egypt, a police source said on Thursday, in the latest in a series of clashes between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

The source said the clash took place on Wednesday when dozens of Muslims threw stones at a private building in Damshaw Hashim village, some 240 km (150 miles) south of Cairo, which they believed a Christian resident was turning into a church without state permission.

Police arrived at the scene and fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd, the source said.

Al Hayat reported that the Musim villagers blamed the Copts for the violence, and the Copts blamed the police officers for the shooting.

I haven't been covering this story, but based on assorted conversations I've had with people who have been following it more closely than I, it seems the Copts are not really winning this battle from a public relations perspective. This is a purely anecdotal analysis mind you, but generally there is an inclination on our parts to sympathize with the Copts as the oppressed minority. However, this whole affair, beginning with the conversion of the bishop's wife, and the protests, and her being pressured to convert back, and the pope going into seclusion in protest, and now this... well there doesn't seem to be much public sentiment with the Copts, even among people are inclined to side with the Copts. There is a sense that the pope overreacted, and that, throughout this affair the Copts have shown themselves to be just as fanatical as their Muslim counterparts.
PostsCharles LevinsonComment