Egypt has sought to minimise the repercussions of the recent killing of six Coptic Christians in the south by qualifying the incident as a "criminal" rather than sectarian affair.
On January 6, the eve of the Coptic Orthodox Christmas, three gunmen raked worshippers emerging from mass in Nagaa Hammadi with bullets, the deadliest attack since 2000 when 20 Copts were killed in sectarian clashes.
Nearly two weeks after the incident, President Hosni Mubarak made indirect mention of the attack, calling on Muslims and Christians to unite, in statements carried by the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.
"We are one people. We are not fanatics because we are all children of this land and there is no difference between Egyptian Muslims, Christians and Jews," Mubarak said. Shame on him. Denial won't make the problem go way, and will lead to more Christian victims. MORE HERE