Egyptian Monks, Bedouins agree to settle after Abu Fana attack

Cairo- Egypt (PANA) – Monks (Christians) and Bedou-ins (Muslims) in central Egypt agreed to a settlement this week over clashes that erupted between the two in M a y.
The official news agency, MENA, reported that monks of the Abu Fana Monastery an d the area's Bedouins agreed to a settlement that included waiving 25 acres of a g ricultural land and 70 acres of non-agricultural land from the church's original 600.
The agreement also includes a Bedouin decision to erect a wall that would encirc le the monastery and for those involved in the violent clashes and kidnapping of at least three monks to be tried in court without appeal to civil organizations.
A dispute over land in Minya in May turned quickly into street battles that left one Muslim man dead and three Copts wounded as well as three Coptic monks being kidnapped.
Local Muslims in the Deir Abu Fana village, some 150 kilometres south of Cairo, claimed that an expansion project at a Coptic monastery was being done on illega l property.
Copts took offence and began protesting in a nearby town, chanting, "with our bl ood and soul, we will defend the cross.
" The demonstrators called on President Hosni Mubarak to intercede in order to end the conflict.
It was too late.
According to Coptic accounts, Muslims attacked the demonstrators, wielding rifle s and shooting at the Copts, wounding two of them.
Then, in a surprise move, three monks were kidnapped and taken to the nearby mou ntains before being released late Saturday.

15 august 2008 18:57:00

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