CAIRO, July 27, 2012 (AFP)
Muslims on Friday set fire to Christian homes in a village near the Egyptian capital after a fight between a Muslim man and a Christian laundry worker who singed his shirt while ironing it, police said.
At least one person was wounded as Muslims and Coptic Christians also traded fire bombs, police officials said.
Muslims have in the past burned the homes of Copts during sectarian clashes, with dozens of Christians killed in the past 18 months alone since president Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow in a popular uprising.
The Copts, who make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s 82-million-strong population, were also targets of sectarian attacks before Mubarak’s ouster in February last year.
Mubarak’s ouster was followed by Egypt this year electing an Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, who has pledged to respect the rights of Christians and says they will be represented in his government.
Muslim-majority Egypt has for decades been marked by deep sectarian tensions, with religious violence between Muslims and Christians often sparked by disputes over land or love affairs between members of the two communities.
In January 2011, a suicide bomber killed more than 20 Christians outside a church in the country’s second city Alexandria, amid accusations by Islamists that the Coptic Church had detained a woman who converted to Islam.