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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid