Muslim teenager killed in sectarian clash in Egypt

Cairo- Egypt (PANA) -- A Muslim teenager was killed in the latest spate of sectar ian violence in Egypt, again highlighting the tense situation facing Muslims and Christians in Egyptian villages.
Wednesday’s violence occurred in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura, some 110 kilom eters (70 miles) northeast of Cairo.
According to an eyewitness, fighting began after the teenager and a Coptic stree t vendor engaged in a verbal dispute.
The verbal face-off turned ugly after a group of Coptic youth intervened in the fray and Mohamed Ramadan Eissa was killed in the ensuing fighting.
Police have not detailed how the young man was killed.
The death of Eissa sparked a Muslim backlash against the Coptic community.
According to the eyewitness, after the boy’s death was reported, Muslims took to the streets and attacked Christian homes, setting two on fire before police int e rvened.
A police officer in Mansoura, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said about 20 rioters were arrested, both Muslims and Christians.
“It was horrible to see,” the eye witness said, adding “I don’t know what starte d the fighting and I didn’t see the young man die, but I think he was stabbed.
I t is wrong what they did, both sides.
” Hundreds of troops entered Mansoura Wednesday evening in order to keep the peace , the ministry of interior said.
Christians make up an estimated 10 per cent of Egypt's 80 million people.
Although the two communities live in relative peace and coexistence, in recent y ears, especially in the Delta region, Copts and Muslims have fought more regular l y.
Major tensions have arisen over the use of land for churches, which Copts argue they cannot construct due to government restrictions.
“It is not that we should not be allowed to build our holy places, it is where w e want to build them that gets people angry,” said George, café worker in Tanta, on Wednesday.
“We should not build churches right next to mosques.
This is not r i ght and it makes people angry.
We should be smarter than this.

01 july 2009 15:49:00

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