Sunday, March 8, 2009

Religious clashes in Dama'a, Egypt

An Egyptian town has been placed under curfew after a man was killed and several wounded in inter-religious clashes. Clashes in Dama’s, in northern Egypt, began after rumors spread that a Muslim girl from the area was involved romantically with a Copt boy.
According to a report in the London-based Al-Quds Al-‘Arabi, the boy’s father was killed in the clashes, several others were wounded and the police arrested a number of the people involved in the brawl. Egyptian authorities imposed a curfew on Dama’s, home to some 25,000 people, in order to calm matters down. More than 1,000 soldiers have been deployed there to maintain security.
The religious tension comes at an unfortunate time for Cairo, as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is heading for Washington in the coming weeks and will not want these incidents to draw attention to Cairo’s treatment of religious minorities. Sectarian tensions are a recurring theme in Egypt. Human-rights organizations accuse Mubarak’s government of discriminating against Copts, who constitute around 10 percent of the country's 80 million inhabitants, constituting the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

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