A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 8, 2013

Deaths at the Cathedral

The weekend sectarian violence between Copts and Muslims in Egypt was the worst in months, with five dead at Khusus in the Delta on Saturday (four Christians, one  Muslim) and two more killed in clashes outside St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo's Abbasiyya District yesterday. As is too distressingly common, the fatalities reportedly arose from graffiti on a Muslim institute in Khusus which was blamed on Christians. President Morsi reportedly called Coptic Pope Tawadros II after what is believed to be the first direct attack on the Cathedral, the Pope's seat.

Sectarian tensions have simmered since the revolution (in a sense, since the 1970s), but despite Morsi's periodic assertions of concern, many Christians believe that the Muslim Brotherhood tends to look the other way when the attacks are coming from radical Salafis who are its political allies. But most of the confrontations recently have been in villages on Upper Egypt or the Delta, not at one of Cairo's more prominent landmarks, as was the case this time.

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