Egypt: Six Copts killed

Source: FSSPX News

On January 6, 2010, three armed men open fire on Copts as they were leaving church after Mass in Nagan Hamadi, about 600 km [375 miles] south of Cairo, killing six Christians and a Muslim police officer. This was the most deadly attack on Copts since 2000, when confrontations resulted in 20 deaths in the Christian community. The assault incited the anger of the local inhabitants, who have accused the authorities of trying to suppress interreligious tensions in Egypt, as well as numerous protests abroad. The United States alluded to an "atmosphere of intolerance", while Rome denounced the “horrific violence".

The Egyptian authorities, however, denied that the affair had anything to do with religion and emphasized instead its "criminal" character, speaking of a vendetta after the rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Copt in November. Despite the arrest of three men, tensions remain in Nagaa Hamadi, where their trial has been postponed to March 20 at the request of the defense attorneys.

Copts make up almost 10% of the Egyptian population of 80 million. They have complained for more than 20 years of discrimination, claiming that they have been denied certain key positions in the army, the police force, the justice department and the universities. (Sources: AFP/APIC - DICI no.209 February 6, 2010)

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