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Egyptian Islamist presidential hopefuls on Monday condemned violence that erupted during a Coptic protest outside the state TV building late Sunday.
Twenty-four people were killed and more than 270 injured in the encounters in the Maspero area as Coptic protesters rallied to protest the attack of a church in Aswan on 30 September, which local authorities and Muslim citizens claimed to be unlicensed.
Presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood member, said the events in Maspero aim to create more division and drive the country to chaos and sectarianism.
Abouel Fotouh urged Egyptians to confront such incidents, which he labeled as a threat to national security. He warned that such events might be used as a pretext for foreign intervention.
Hazem Abu Ismail, another Islamist nominee, said the incidents in Maspero were “planned and meant to tighten the security grip."
He blamed the developments on the “inattention by some big and important political groups." He did not, however, identify those groups.
Abu Ismail stressed that the solution for the crisis is to apply justice on Copts and Muslims indiscriminately.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Selim al-Awa, an Islamic thinker and another presidential hopeful, told the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that he has a video clip which exonerates Copts from shooting at army soldiers.
The video shows gunmen arriving from nearby streets and shooting at protesters and army forces simultaneously, Awa said.
Awa called upon Egyptians to confront “sedition plots” and to shun foreign intervention.
Translated from the Arabic Edition