The Washington Post reports that clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in a Cairo suburb left 12 people dead over the weekend. On Saturday night in a northwest section of the city, a mob of hard-line Muslims attacked the Virgin Mary Church, while another group attacked an apartment building several blocks away, residents said.
The assaults were the most recent response to allegations that Copts have held women against their will because they intend to convert to Islam. On Sunday, during demonstrations attended by Copts and Muslims to show unity and demand better protection from the government, additional clashes broke out.
Today hundreds of Egyptians demonstrated to protest the weekend's events and to express their fear that some in Egypt seek to create an Islamic state that would marginalize the Christians (who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's nearly 80 million population).
Egypt's military rulers have struggled with continued unrest after the popular uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11. But this was one of the most serious outbreaks of violence that the country's interim rulers have faced since taking power, signifying that sectarian tensions may very well represent one of the worst threats to a peaceful postrevolution Egypt.
Read more at the Washington Post.