Christians, Muslims Brawl in Egypt

Police in Egypt have arrested dozens of men after a massive brawl erupted between Christians and Muslims.

The violence reportedly started when two men had an argument over a donkey cart in the small village of Asem. Yes, a donkey cart!

Christians and Muslims living in the area decided to join the dispute by setting businesses on fire and smashing cars.

Police arrested more than two dozen men.

Tensions between the two faith groups have been on edge for years, especially in the Minya region of Upper Egypt, where the majority of the country’s Christians live.

After suffering a wave of attacks there this summer, a top leader in Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said more must be done to stop the persecution of Christians.

“Please, for Christ’s sake, avoid this behavior,” Bishop Makarios of Minya said. “We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.”

Christians are an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s population and have long complained of discrimination and attacks by the Sunni majority.

In July, Muslim youngsters destroyed a Christian business when reports leaked that the owner was going to turn it into a church. Video of the attack was uploaded to YouTube.

That attack came two months after a mob of more than 300 Muslim men stripped naked a 70-year-old Christian woman and paraded her through the streets of a village in Karama.

“After that woman was stripped, we couldn’t be quiet, not after that,” Bishop Makarios told the New York Times. Makarios was also upset that local officials denied the incident even happened. “Had they apologized or said they would follow it up, it would be different, but this was an insult to Egypt,” Makarios said.

Open Doors, a group that monitors religious freedom around the world, ranks Egypt #22 on the World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution.

The incident in Asem is the latest in a wave of sectarian violence that has gripped the country’s south.