Copt-Muslim Clashes Stoke Fears
By: Ahmad Mustafa Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab).
A dispute over financial issues between Coptic and Muslims led to a quarrel that devolved into clashes, during which firearms were used by friends and relatives of both parties in the city of Zagazig in the governorate of Sharqiya. Security forces surrounded the clashes and secured the Monastery of Saint Antonio that was almost stormed by some Muslim groups. The police arrested dozens of participants in the clashes and started its investigation.
About This Article
Muslim-Copt gun fights have spread in Egypt, adding one more security challenge to the new president, Mohammed Morsi. In Sharqiya, fights with firearms were reported, writes Ahmad Mustafa, adding to Egyptians' concern that sectarian violence is spreading even as political instability wanes.Publisher: Al-Hayat (Pan Arab)
Drastic Interventions is Expected With the Escalation of Sectarian Violence
Author: Ahmad Mustafa
First Published: August 6, 2012
Posted on: August 6 2012
Translated by: Joelle El-Khoury
Categories : Security Egypt
In Dahshur, the security services has arrested some suspects in the sectarian clashes that left one person dead and dozens injured. It was reported that some Coptic families started to return to the village, after they had abandoned it for fear of reprisal attacks. Moreover, the commission that was formed by President Mohammad Morsi to limit damages and evaluate adequate compensation to Coptic houses started its work yesterday, while public figures continue to arrive to Dahshur.
The security forces entered a number of houses in the village of Dahshur yesterday and arrested 10 suspects in the incidents, who are to be referred to the investigating judge in Giza. The general prosecution has ordered the arrest of nine other persons suspected of burning and stealing Coptic houses in the village.
Bishop Theodosius, General Bishop of Giza, confirmed receiving several phone calls from senior clerics and families from El-Badershein center assuring that displaced families could return and the situation was calming down with the heavy presence of security forces. However, Bishop Theodosius said he was deeply saddened by the loss of Copt businesses after their shops were destroyed in most parts of the village. He added that he expects the president to fulfill his promise to compensate those affected in these incidents.
Political and human rights activists are expecting Morsi and his government to be drastically involved and defuse the sectarian violence which has been fostered in recent years. Morsi has pledged to strictly apply the law and guarantee fair and quick trials of suspects in recent incidents. This pledge reflects a change in the state policy regarding sectarian issues where security solutions prevailed in the past. However, some observers believe that Morsi’s speech is insufficient, and stressed the need to enact laws and respect policies that reinforce the rule of law and citizenship.
Chairman of the Egyptian Organization for human rights, Hafez Abu Saeda, confirmed that “any solution to sectarian problems requires a political will to apply the law to any violator, participant or inciter of sectarian violence.” He called on all state institutions to “work on developing urgent interim plans and long-term strategic plans to save the homeland from these incidents, which are deeper than just a security solution.”
He said “the concerns of the Copts are natural and logical under the repeated incidents of violence” and warned that “in the Egyptian society, there is a real crisis of sectarianism that must be addressed without any delay, by adopting long term strategies and staying away from any virtual and temporary solutions.”
The Democratic Front Party viewed the incidents of Dahshur as “the first and most dangerous test showing if the Islamic background president is favoring the principles of the rule of law,” adding that “the main reason behind the problem is the absence of state institutions.” He pointed out that “everyone expected the president to react immediately, however he did so a week after the incidents began.”
The party has blamed security forces for their “total failure to ensure citizens’ protection and bring perpetrators of previous violations to justice,” adding that “this failure has led to the reality we are currently facing.” The party demanded “strict application of the law, implementation of the principle of state sovereignty on everyone and development of a security apparatus that can ensure quick responses to such incidents.”
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