Egypt Christians and Muslims in Violent Clashes Over Church Construction

Fighting has broken out Saturday between Christians and Muslims in Egypt following a dispute about the building of a new church.

According to a local security official a group of Muslims from the Awlad Khalaf village gathered together at the site where the construction of a new church was taking place.

The Islamic mob demanded that the church be torn down as the construction was illegal. The group even brought in bulldozers to try and destroy what had been constructed so far.

According to AP, fighting then broke out between the two groups and gunshots were fired.

Initial reports indicate that three Muslims suffered gunshot wounds, and a Christian also sustained stab wounds. At least one of those injured was in a serious condition in hospital.

Earlier this week The Christian Post reported how new building regulation proposals in Egypt were being tabled. If given the go ahead they would make the building of new churches in the country much easier.

Until now, constructing new churches has been hindered by a complicated process which involves receiving permission directly from the president.

Some Christians have waited years before receiving permission to build a new church.

According to Aid to the Church in Need, the government’s proposals would shorten the process considerably by having applications sent to the regional governor for a decision within three months.

However, tensions between Christians and Muslims in Egypt have been rising over recent months, and the latest violence reveals the intensity of distrust and suspicion between the two groups.

Attacks against Christians and churches in Egypt have been a common occurrence over the past 12 months.

Just earlier in June Egypt’s public prosecutor referred 48 people for trial at the criminal court for being involved in the deadly sectarian violence that led to the burning of a church in the Cairo district of Imbaba in May.

The deadly incident occurred on May 7, when clashes occurred between Christians and Muslims in Imbaba, a working-class district of Cairo. The fighting saw 12 people killed and dozens more injured, as well as a church set on fire.

Christians make up just 10 percent of Egypt's population.

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