Egyptian Government Compensates Christians after Muslim Attacks

The Egyptian government has given 1,265,000 Egyptian pounds (US$230,000) in compensation to 17 Coptic Christians whose property was damaged by a mob of angry Muslims.

Earlier this month, in the southern Egyptian town of Isna, a group of Muslims damaged cars and shops belonging to the Christians.

Magdy Ayoub, the governor of the Qena province, said the attacks began after it was reported that a Coptic Christian pulled down the veil of a Muslim woman in a car parking lot.

According to the Associated Press, police had arrested 15 people in connection with the attacks, most of whom were later released.

Ayoub said prominent local Muslim and Christian figures plan to meet in a bid to ease the sectarian tension.

Southern Egypt is no stranger to tension and conflict between Muslims and Coptic Christians. In 2000, 21 Christians and a Muslim were killed in the village of Kosheh after a dispute turned into a fight between armed villagers.

More recently, dozens of Muslims earlier this month rioted after rumors spread that Coptic Christians had tried to abduct and sexually assault a teenage Muslim girl.

The Muslims threw stones and broke windows at a pharmacy where they believed the Christians had forced the girl to have sex with them.

According to AP, the two Coptic Christians suspected of the abduction were arrested by police and detained for 15 days on charges related to sectarian tensions.

Egypt is a country of 76.5 million people. Around 10 percent of the country's population is Coptic Christian.