Police have arrested eight individuals after a violent dispersal of an angry Muslim mob that was targeting Christian homes in the Moheidat district in southern Egypt on Friday.
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Muslim villagers had suspected that a Christian family in Moheidat, south of the city of Luxor, was holding captive a teen who had reportedly converted to Islam. However, the teenage girl's family has denied the accusation, The Associated Press details.
The angry Muslim mob was on its way to Christian homes when police interfered and dispersed the crowd by using tear gas. The incident escalated into a clash which left four policemen and seven Muslim villagers injured.
This is not the first time that such an incident happened in Egypt. In the past, such happenings have led to deadly sectarian attacks and caused a rift between Muslim and Christian communities in the country.
Egyptian Christians, who make up around 10 percent of the country's population of 92 million, have long complained of being discriminated against by authorities. In rural areas, radical Muslims are notably more powerful than the central government.
Earlier this month, Christian advocates called on the international community to take notice of the attacks and threats that the Coptic Christians in Egypt are facing. The message was delivered amid a spike in attacks targeting the Copts and a video from the Islamic State threatening the believers, Catholic News Agency reports.
"Americans need to know that one of the oldest Christian communities in the world is under threat from being completely pushed out of Egypt," In Defense of Christians' executive director Philippe Nassif told CNA.
In a statement, Bishop Angaelos, the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said 40 Christians have reportedly been murdered in Egypt in the last three months. He also said they are praying that God will grant peace and reassurance to the victims of terrorism and violence and that people will advocate for these persecuted believers.