Egypt`s Christians fear new attack on holiday

Egyptian Christians say they fear a repeat attack against their community on Coptic Christmas Eve despite authorities planning heavy security following a New Year`s suicide bombing of a church.

Last Updated: Jan 06, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Cairo: Egyptian Christians say they fear a
repeat attack against their community on Coptic Christmas Eve
tomorrow despite authorities planning heavy security following
a New Year`s suicide bombing of a church in Alexandria that
killed 21.

In response to the threats against the Christians by
extremists, Egyptian activists have called on Muslims to form
human shields in front of the churches on Christmas Eve as
gesture of solidarity with country`s Coptic Christian
minority, which makes up 10 per cent of Egypt`s 80 million
people.

The bombing of the church, the worst act of sectarian
violence in the country in a decade, touched off days of
demonstrations and riots by the Christians blaming the
government for encouraging discrimination and prejudice and
not doing enough to protect them.

Some Christians have even said they will skip
tomorrow`s Christmas Eve services for fear that there will be
more attacks.

"I had a fight with my mother. She kept saying no
churches this year. I wanted to go but my parents are afraid
something might happen again," said Karim Monier, a
19-year-old student living in the middle-class neighbourhood
of Hadayak Helwan in southern Cairo.

Egyptian authorities have beefed up security around
many churches all over country, with explosives experts on
hand. Armoured vehicles will be stationed in main squares in
case of emergency.

PTI