Police presence high around Dahshur, five arrested in sectarian strife

Police imposed tight security measures in the village of Dahshur, Badrasheen, on Saturday in after sectarian clashes between Muslims and Copts the day before.

The clashes started on Friday when a Christian makwagi, a person who irons clothes for a living, burned a shirt owned by a Muslim customer while ironing it.

Muslims later set fire to Christian homes in the village, which is on the southern outskirts of Cairo, and at least one person was wounded as Muslims and Coptic Christians traded fire bombs.

Security forces stopped an attempt to storm the Mar Girgis Church in the village.

Badrasheen prosecution ordered the arrest of five Muslims, while the makwagi and a relative were detained pending investigation on charges of attempted murder and possession of explosives.

Prosecution investigators found that 1,000 Muslims had gathered to set fire to the makwagi's house, and succeeded in burning it down completely. Damages were estimated at LE200,000. 

All those who started the fire or helped start it, as well those who attempted to kill the makwagi and members of his family, were arrested, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Moaz, a young man who suffered 70 percent body burns, told the prosecution that he was walking down the street, unexpectedly came accross the fight, and a member of the makwagi's family threw a Molotov cocktail at him. Investigations appeared to confirm Moaz's testimony.

In coordination with the village’s leading families, police imposed a security cordon in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

Muslims have burned down the homes of Copts during sectarian clashes in the past.

Christians were the target of sectarian attacks under the rule of former leader Hosni Mubarak, and dozens of Christians have been killed in the past 18 months since Mubarak's overthrow in February last year.

Copts make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt's 82-million-strong population.

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