“Copt slain in clashes with Muslims”
MINYA, Egypt (AFP) â€” A Coptic Christian was killed by a stray bullet during an overnight gunfight between Christians and Muslims in a town in southern Egypt, a security official said on Saturday.
A Christian and a Muslim were also wounded in the shooting, which took place in Al-Tayeba, near Minya, some 230 kilometres (140 miles) south of Cairo.
The dead man was identified as Yeshua Gamal Nashed, 28.
The cause of the violence was unclear, but the official said it appeared to be linked to reports that a Christian woman in the village was selling a property to a Muslim.
Of course, Egyptian “officials” (predominantly if not all Muslim) have a long history of being less than honest when it comes to why Muslims and Christians quarrel — such as in theÂ Abu Fana monastery raid, which officials insisted wasÂ alsoÂ prompted over land and property (yet, oddly, the Muslim raiders spend a good deal of time denigrating Christianity, including trying to force monks to convert to Islam and spit on the cross).
Al-Tayeba, 75 percent of whose 30,000 residents are Christian, has been cordoned off and several arrests have been made, the official said.
How ironic: even in those few regions in Egypt where Copts outnumber Muslims, during “sectarian clashes,” it’sÂ stillÂ the Copts who die.
Egypt’s Copts — the largest Christian community in the Middle East — account for an estimated six to 10 percent of the country’s 80 million inhabitants.
Here’s the story from Al Reuters:
Christian man killed in sectarian clash in Egypt
Nineteen-year-old Yeshua Gamal Nashed was shot dead when scores of villagers fought each other with guns, bricks and sticks in the village of al-Tayeba, near Minya, the sources said. Three Christians and a Muslim were wounded.Â
A car and a pharmacy were destroyed and shop fronts were damaged before security forces used tear gas to break up the fighting. At least 15 people were arrested, the sources said.Â
Some security sources said fighting broke out after a Christian hardware merchant refused to give wooden sticks to Muslim minibus drivers.Â
They said the drivers had wanted the sticks for a fight with Muslim minibus drivers from a neighbouring town.Â
But others said a longstanding fight over land ownership between two families had spilled over after a man from the Christian family insulted a woman from the Muslim family. Christians account for up to 10 percent of Egypt’s population. Relations with the Muslim majority are usually harmonious, but disputes over land, religious buildings or women sometimes lead to violence.Â
In 1999, 20 Christians were killed in a burst of sectarian violence in southern Egypt.Â
And in 2006, there were three days of sectarian clashes in Alexandria after a Muslim stabbed a Coptic Christian to death. Authorities said the attacker was mentally ill. (Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Kevin Liffey)