Christian-Muslim Tensions Flare Over Play

November 1, 2005

Source: Newsday,0,7036994.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

On November 1, 2005 Newsday reported, "Abu Abbas looked in disbelief around his ravaged cafe just a few yards from a Coptic Christian church. Its wooden chairs lay broken and strewn about and shattered glass from broken lamps littered the floor after his business was caught in the crossfire of Egypt's latest Christian-Muslim uproar. Abu Abbas' cafe is right next to St. George's, one of seven churches in two Alexandria neighborhoods attacked by thousands of Muslims on the night of Oct. 21. The protesters faced off against hundreds of riot police trying to protect the church. But in the melee, they shattered St. George's windows and destroyed Abu Abbas' cafe... The violence was triggered by a play put on by Christians deemed offensive to Islam. The play had gone unnoticed when it was first performed at St. George's two years ago. Though it has not been performed recently, it caught Muslims' attention when, according to security officials, Islamic extremists may have been distributing DVDs of it to raise tensions ahead of parliamentary elections next week. But many feel the cause of the rioting goes far deeper, rooted in the growing enmity between Egypt's Muslims and Christians."