Source: The Star Tribune
Wire Service: AP
Early in the morning two Sundays ago, hundreds of Christian Egyptians quietly slipped into a former underwear factory where they had discreetly set up a church and held their first service. Bells rang and hymns were sung.
A crowd of angry Muslims quickly gathered, threw stones at the building and burned banners that said, "No to the church." They tried to storm the gates, clashed with police and chanted, "The church has fallen, the priest is dead," according to witnesses.
In fact, no one died, but 13 people were reported injured. For Egyptians in general, the incident in the blue-collar district of Ain Shams served as a warning that Muslim-Christian clashes, largely confined to the south of the country in recent years, have seeped into the capital.
Tempers are flaring as Islamic conservatism gains ground and Christians grow increasingly resentful about discrimination by the Muslim majority. The Ain Shams incident highlights that even in Cairo — seen as more cosmopolitan in its sectarian relations than the rural south — suspicions run between the communities. Muslim and Christian neighbors also are competing over who can set up houses of worship and where.