Muslims Clash With Coptic Christians in Egypt

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Attacks on a Christian community in Egypt left more than 20 people injured this week. Three of them are in critical condition.

Muslims firebombed Christian homes and attacked a Coptic community center.

Coptics make up the majority of the 8 million Christians in a country of 80 million people. They generally live in peace with Muslims, but violence occurs periodically.

Hussein Fekry, the local security chief, told Egyptian TV on Saturday that the clashes were limited and were provoked by a new fence built around the community center.

Father Bejemy, a Coptic bishop, said Muslims began rioting after an imam called for jihad against infidels in a Friday sermon. He said the attackers broke the center's gate, several windows, and destroyed trees.

"If the fence is the real problem, I agreed to remove it. I just hope it is the real problem," Bejemy said in a telephone interview from Marsa-Matruh. "I am not sure if this violence is only because of one fanatic who didn't act wisely or if the situation is bigger than this. Only days will tell."

Many Christians hid inside a Coptic community center for 10 hours while Egyptian security forces fought to restore order.

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