Muslim man sentenced to death for killing two Christians

An Egyptian court sentenced a Muslim man to death Monday for killing two Christians during a clash in Upper Egypt in November 2011.

Local government sources said that the Sohag Criminal Court referred Mahmoud Abdel Nazir’s sentence to the grand mufti for approval.

Abdel Nazir was convicted of killing the two Christians after storming their homes in the village of Ghraizat, located in Sohag Governorate’s Maragha township.

The violence started when a Christian man beat Abdel Nazir’s brother to death with an iron rod after a fight over the right to use a road in the village, according to state-run news agency MENA.

Abdel Nazir reportedly attacked several homes and shops belonging to the Christian man’s relatives and also killed a farmer and a local merchant in retaliation. Two other people were also injured and Abdel Nazir burned down several homes.

The case highlighted rising tensions between Muslims and Christians in Egypt since former President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011.

Christians have complained about several attacks on their churches, which they say were carried out by radical Islamists. Tensions between Muslims and Christians also flare up periodically in rural areas, often aggravated by family feuds or love affairs between members of the two religions.

President Mohamed Morsy, who is from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, has pledged to protect the rights of Christians, who account for at least 10 percent of Egypt’s population.

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