AFRICA/EGYPT - New arrests for sectarian clashes in Karm, but the main witness changes his version

Friday, 10 June 2016 sectaniarism

Minya (Agenzia Fides) - Three more men were arrested in relation to a sectarian mob attack on the homes of Coptic Christians. This is what Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides report. After the new arrests, the number of people arrested has reached the considerable number of 14 suspects. At the same time lawyer Ihab Ramzhy, representative of the Copts who have suffered violence, reported that the most serious incident regards an elderly Coptic woman who was stripped naked, abused and insulted in public by a group of troublemakers, who are likely to remain unpunished, because the main witness has changed his version of the facts, after some of his relatives had been blamed for the attacks suffered by Copts.
Sectarian violence in Karm, in the Egyptian province of Minya, had exploded a few days after the meeting in Rome between Pope Francis and Great imam Al Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyib. The events were precipitated by rumours of a love affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, attacked and stripped naked in public.
Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II had immediately issued a statement (see Fides 27/05/2016) in which he raised the possibility that the facts in Karm could be used to trigger a new spiral of sectarian clashes. Even President Abdel Fattah al Sisi - as reported in a statement released on Thursday, May 26 by the presidential staff - had urged the government’s competent departments to identify and punish those responsible for the violence in Karm. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 10/06/2016)