News / Africa

Christian Shot Dead in Egypt Train Attack

Egyptian authorities say an off-duty Muslim police officer boarded a train Tuesday and opened fire, killing a Christian man and wounding five others, including the victim's wife and three other women.

Egypt's Interior Ministry says the gunman, Amer Ashour Abdel-Zaher, boarded the train at the town of Samalout in Egypt's central Minya province, south of the capital.

Security officials say police arrested the attacker at his nearby home after he fled the scene, and that an investigation is underway.

Soon after the attack, hundreds of angry Coptic Christians gathered outside the hospital where the wounded were being treated to demand the government do more to protect them. The Reuters news agency, citing security sources, says police used tear gas to disperse them.

No motive has been established for the shooting. While it is not clear if Abdel-Zaher knew the religious faith of his victims, Christian women stand out in the conservative south since, unlike Muslim women, they generally do not wear headscarves.

The train originated in the city of Assiut which, like Samalout, is home to a substantial Christian community.

The shooting comes less than two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 23 Christians and wounded nearly 100 outside a church in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. The New Year's bombing was the country's deadliest sectarian attack in years.

Meanwhile, Egypt recalled its Vatican ambassador for consultations as it dismissed a call issued by Pope Benedict for increased protection of Christian minorities as "unacceptable interference" in Egypt's internal affairs.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Tuesday that Egypt will "not allow non-Egyptians to interfere" in its affairs under any pretext.

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyib of al-Azhar University, a leading Islamic institute in the Sunni Muslim world, also characterized the protection of Christians as an internal issue and rejected "foreign interference" in the affairs of Arab and Islamic countries.

The pope Monday condemned recent attacks on churches that killed dozens of people in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, saying they showed the need to adopt effective measures to protect religious minorities.

His comments were part of a strongly-worded defense of the rights of Christians living in majority-Muslim countries.  In it, the pope also urged Pakistan to repeal a controversial anti-blasphemy law that carries a death sentence for insulting Islam.

Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts, account for about 10 percent of Egypt's population, which is mainly Sunni Muslim. Sectarian violence sometimes erupts in disputes over issues related to church building, religious conversions and interfaith relationships.

Egyptian officials insist they are capable of protecting all citizens and said there are indications that "foreign elements" were behind the January 1 blast in Alexandria. An al-Qaida-linked Iraqi group threatened in November to attack Egyptian Christians.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid