News / Africa

Angry Copts Attack Vehicle Carrying Egypt's Top Muslim Clerics

Ahmed el-Tayeb the grand sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent theological institute of Sunni Islam, left, and Pope Shenouda III, the head of the Coptic church, talk to the media in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday Jan. 2 , 2011
Ahmed el-Tayeb the grand sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent theological institute of Sunni Islam, left, and Pope Shenouda III, the head of the Coptic church, talk to the media in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday Jan. 2 , 2011

Angry Coptic Christians pelted a vehicle carrying Egypt's top Muslim religious leaders shortly after they met with Coptic leader Pope Shenouda III.  Mourners also gathered for mass inside the All Saints Coptic church in Alexandria to grieve for the victims of an explosion outside the church early Saturday.   

Egypt's top religious leaders met in a frantic attempt to prevent further sectarian violence, following an explosion Saturday outside a church in the port city of Alexandria.

Eyewitnesses say tempers flared after the meeting when an angry crowd of Coptic men pelted a vehicle carrying top Muslim leaders. Reports say Egypt's grand mufti and the Sheikh of al Azhar were not hurt.  A spokesman for the mufti indicated that he "understood the anger" of the crowd.

A group of old women in black wailed and cried as they left a mass to mourn loved ones killed in the blast outside the All Saints Coptic church. Egyptian TV showed workers cleaning blood stains and sandblasting the church to remove traces of Saturday's explosion.

After the mass, a priest at the church, Father Maqar Fawzy, tried to put a damper on the angry pulse of worshipers and those outside the church.

He says that all of us are children of Adam, and we are all brothers, so we should have no hostility among brothers, even if my brother is an atheist.  No man, he repeats, should have hostility towards his brother.

In the Egyptian capital Cairo and in Alexandria political and religious leaders worked desperately to try to put a lid on escalating tensions between Christians and Muslims.  Sheikh Ahmed Tayeb of Egypt's venerable Islamic institution al-Azhar offered an opinion.

He suggests the idea of a kind of family dialogue, including Christian and Muslim leaders, be put in place, in order to help everyone resolve problems among themselves.

Egyptian political leaders also met at the headquarters of the opposition Wafd Party to discuss tensions some fear could lead to bitter sectarian clashes.  Wafd leader Sayyid al Badawi says people and politicians must work together to prevent violence.

He says participants agree on the need to have a political discussion, along with a civilian discussion, that will send a clear message to the Egyptian people that we are all made from the same cloth, we are one people and we are all being targeted by recent events.

Egyptian Muslims and Christians raise a copy of the Quran and a Cross in Shubra district, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan.1, 2011 to protest against the terrorist attack on a Coptic Christian church in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria.
Egyptian Muslims and Christians raise a copy of the Quran and a Cross in Shubra district, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan.1, 2011 to protest against the terrorist attack on a Coptic Christian church in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Demonstrators in Cairo overnight chanted slogans in favor of national unity as police looked on.  But that demonstration was matched by the gathering in front of the headquarters of Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III, as young men called for the government to do more to protect churches.

In Rome, Pope Benedict condemned violence against Christians, which many blame on al-Qaida militants in Egypt and Iraq.  He said it offends God and the whole of humanity.

The pope said, "Religious freedom is an essential element of a state of law, which cannot be denied."

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

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid