- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Coptic church decries repeated attacks
Christians represent majority of 26 killed in sectarian violence
Question of the Day
CAIRO — Egypt's Coptic church chided authorities Monday for allowing repeated attacks on Christians with impunity, as the death toll from a night of rioting rose to 26, most of them Christians who were trying to stage a peaceful protest in Cairo over an attack on a church.
The spiritual leader of the Coptic Christian minority, Pope She-nouda III, declared three days of mourning, praying and fasting for the victims starting on Tuesday and also presided over funerals for some of the Christians killed.
Sunday's sectarian violence was the worst in Egypt since the uprising that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak in February.
"Strangers got in the middle of our sons and committed mistakes to be blamed on our sons," the Coptic church said in a statement, lamenting "problems that occur repeatedly and go unpunished."
The clashes Sunday night raged over a large section of downtown Cairo and drew in Christians, Muslims and security forces. They began when about 1,000 Christian protesters tried to stage a peaceful sit-in outside the state television building along the Nile in downtown Cairo.
The protesters said they were attacked by "thugs" with sticks and the violence then spiraled out of control after a speeding military vehicle jumped up onto a sidewalk and rammed into some of the Christians.
There is no precise breakdown of how many Christians and Muslims were among the victims, but the 26 are believed to be mostly Christian.
Officials said at least three soldiers were among the dead. Nearly 500 people were injured. Egypt's official news agency said dozens have been arrested.
Much smaller skirmishes broke out again Monday outside the Coptic hospital where many of the Christian victims were taken the night before.
Several hundred Christians pelted police with rocks outside while the screams of grieving women rang out from inside the hospital. Some of the hundreds of men gathered outside held wooden crosses and empty coffins were lined up outside the hospital.
There were no word on casualties from the new clashes.
In Washington, the White House said President Obama is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt and called for restraint on all sides.
"As the Egyptian people shape their future, the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities - including Copts - must be respected, and that all people have the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom," a White House statement said. "These tragic events should not stand in the way of timely elections and a continued transition to democracy that is peaceful, just and inclusive."
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million people, blame the ruling military council that took power after the uprising for being too lenient on those behind a spate of anti-Christian attacks since Mr. Mubarak's ouster.
The chaotic power transition has left a security vacuum, and the Coptic Christian minority is particularly worried about a show of force by ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafis.
In recent weeks, riots have broken out at two churches in southern Egypt, prompted by Muslim crowds angry over church construction.
One riot broke out near the city of Aswan, even after church officials agreed to a demand by ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis that a cross and bells be removed from the building.
By Michael P. Orsi
- Calling prison term disparities unfair, Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow