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Church burning deepens unrest in Egypt

[ 2011-05-10 11:25]     字号 [] [] []  
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Relations between Egypt's Muslims and Christians have degenerated to a new low after riots left 15 people dead and a church burned, adding to the disorder of the country.

The attack on the church was the latest sign of assertiveness by an extreme, ultraconservative movement of Muslims known as Salafis, whose increasing hostility toward Egypt's Coptic Christians over the past few months has been met with little interference from the country's military rulers.

Salafis have been blamed for other recent attacks on Christians and others they don't approve of. In one attack, a Christian man had an ear cut off for renting an apartment to a Muslim woman suspected of involvement in prostitution.

The latest violence, which erupted in fresh clashes on Sunday between Muslims and Christians who pelted each other with stones in another part of Cairo, also pointed to what many see as reluctance of the armed forces council to act. The council took temporary control of the country after former president Hosni Mubarak was deposed on Feb 11.

After the overnight clashes in the slum of Imbaba, residents turned their anger toward the military. Some said they and the police did almost nothing to intervene in the five-hour frenzy of violence.

Six Muslims were also among the dead, according to Egypt's state-run news agency.

The bloodshed began on Saturday around sundown when word spread around the neighborhood that a Christian woman who married a Muslim had been abducted and was being kept in the Virgin Mary Church against her will.

Islamic extremists declared the crowded district a state within a state in the 1990s, calling it "the Islamic Republic of Imbaba", one of the country's hottest spots of Islamic militancy.


1. How many people have died?

2. When was Hosni Mubarak deposed?

3. Where is one of the country’s hottest spots of Islamic militancy?


1. 15

2. Feb 11

3. Imbaba


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Church burning deepens unrest in Egypt

About the broadcaster:

Church burning deepens unrest in Egypt

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.