Violent clashes between Egypt's Muslims and Christians leave eight injured
Violent clashes in Egypt between Muslims and Coptic Christians on Monday left eight Egyptians injured in the village of Al Ayat, south of Cairo. Egyptian security sources reported that the violence erupted over the construction of a community center by the area's Christian minority amidst Muslim claims that it would be converted into a church.
The violence, according to the AFP, left five Muslims and three Christians wounded. While the construction of mosques in the country is unrestricted, construction of churches requires government authorization.
Some ten percent of Egypt's population of 77.5 million is Christian.
Similar violence has been frequent in recent weeks, with clashes breaking out on February 18 in southern Egypt between Muslims and Christians after the latter was accused of burning copies of the Quran.
In an apparent attempt to ease growing fears on the part of Christians following the rise of violence along with the success in recent polls of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's government has begun easing restrictions on church-building.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)