Minya (Agenzia Fides) - New tensions and sectarian clashes have affected the province of Minya in Upper Egypt. Yet another violent incident occurred in the village of Assem, 250 kilometers south of Cairo, on September 12. According to local Church sources, a fight broke out between young Muslims and Christians which degenerated into a fight involving relatives and friends. At least two were seriously injured and are now in intensive care in two different hospitals in Minya. The police intervened to stop the fighting, which continued for quite some time, and arrested 20 Muslims and 17 Copts. Even governor Essameddin al Bedeiwi went on the site of the clashes, while Orthodox Coptic Bishop Makarios visited the wounded and their families who were hospitalized.
Last July, always in the governorate of Minya, an escalation of fighting and sectarian clashes culminated in the death of a Copt and injuring three other people (see Fides 18/07/2016). In the following days, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Sunni Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib, Grand Imam of al-Azhar intervened to calm the waters. Due to the tense climate, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, had suspended his public Wednesday catechesis. Later (see Fides 26/07/2016) the Coptic Orthodox Church had also distanced itself from public mobilizations and campaigns, organized abroad by Coptic Orthodox diaspora groups, to protest against the sectarian attacks suffered by Christians in Egypt. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 15/09/2016)