CAIRO — Christians have again come under attack in a major city in
Three Christian churches were attacked over the weekend in what appeared
to be a coordinated effort. At least one Christian congregant was killed and
15 others were injured by Muslims who slashed their way through Mass on
The attacks took place in Alexandria and sparked clashes between Coptic
Christians and Muslims. Police sent hundreds of officers to separate the two
"[Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak, where are you?" a crowd of about
600 Copts chanted.
On Saturday, clashes again erupted between Christians and Muslims in
Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city. Officials said Christians attacked
Muslims and vandalized cars after the funeral of a 67-year-old man stabbed
to death in church the previous day.
Police fired tear gas to quell the riot. At least 30 people were
Authorities have provided contradictory information regarding the April
14 church attacks. At first, Egyptian police said the attacks on Christian
churches were committed by three people. Later, the Interior Ministry said
only one person — described as psychologically unbalanced — was
"This morning a citizen attacked three worshippers inside the Mar Girgis
Church in Al Hadhra with a knife and then fled and went into the Saints
Church, where he attacked three other worshippers and again fled," the
Interior Ministry said on April 14. "While he was trying to enter into
another Mar Girgis Church, he was stopped and arrested by police."
Officials said parliament and the government sent representatives to
persuade Christians and Muslims to end the violence. In October 2005, three
people were killed during anti-Christian riots in Alexandria after a DVD was
distributed that criticized Islamic conversion efforts.
"Egypt is considered a model of national unity and religious tolerance,"
Mubarak said. "The occurrence of an individual incident or problem cannot
disturb the serenity and strength of this relationship between the two
elements of the nation."