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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora