Religious war may occur in Egypt

Politics Materials 12 May 2011 18:47 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 12 / Trend A. Tagiyeva /

The armed clashes between Christians and Muslims in Egypt may expand the inter-confessional problems," Editor of the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper Sherif Shubashi said. "The beginning of a religious war in the country is not excluded."

"The clashes between Christian and Muslim population of Egypt testify to the fact that the inter-religious war may happen in the country," he told Trend over phone from Cairo.

Last Saturday clashes erupted between Christians and Muslims at the Maria-Mena church in the Imbaba in Giza. It is reported that the cause of clashes was the information that the church held a girl from a Christian family, who allegedly converted to Islam. Salafis, who are adherents of the most radical ideas of Islam, think that she is kept in the church by force.

Salafis have previously called for to release another Christian Camilia Shehata. According to their data, she converted to Islam and was imprisoned in a monastery. A great demonstration of the Salafis was held near the church in the Cairo district of Abbasiyah a week ago. There were no clashes. On Saturday, Camilia Shehata personally denied the information about converting to Islam, saying that she will die as a Christian.

More than 200 people, including the main instigators of clashes, were detained as they were suspected of incitement to religious hatred. The criminals will be judges by the Supreme State Security Court of Egypt.

After the power changed in Egypt and the situation with security in the country deteriorated, conflicts on religious grounds occurred more often. The extremists burned down a church in the Egyptian province of Helwan in early March. Christians' demonstrations began in Cairo and other cities.

Egyptian Coptic Christians are the most significant Christian community in the Middle East. According to the various data, they represent about 10 percent of 80-million-population in Egypt.

He said that the cause of all religious conflicts in Egypt is extremist Islamists who are trying to strengthen their ranks with the help of religious conflicts and to come to power using unrests in the country.

He said that the inter-religious war in Egypt can be solved only if the authorities take any actions to combat extremism.

"The situation in the country requires the government's intervention," he added.

He also stressed that the religious conflict in Egypt existed before. But now the Islamists use the political vacuum in the country to strengthen themselves at power.