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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More