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Egypt attacker gets death sentence

Al-Jazeera reports on the sentencing of an Egyptian, Hamam el-Kammouny, in the shooting of six Coptic Christians on January 6th, 2010.  Two other defendants will be sentenced on February 20th.  Attacks on Coptic Christians have increased throughout the year, but the legal process involved in charging people in sectarian violence is often drawn out and sometimes results in acquittals.  This judgment however, seems to present a change in the handling of such cases.

This is the first time a sectarian attack is being referred to a state security court. These are special tribunals set up under the country’s emergency law.  All along, Egypt’s Coptic community have been complaining that sectarian-related cases take too long before justice is served. In some instances, perpetrators are often acquitted and in the case of Nag Hammadi, it took over a year for a verdict to be delivered.  But the most recent verdict is expected to placate some of that anger.



Attacks on Iraqi Christians increase

A few days ago the pope of the Coptic Church weighed in on al Qaeda.  He said he does not fear al Qaeda, that they are not popular in Egypt and could not touch his church.  So far he has been correct, but in Iraq bombs have killed three and wounded twenty-five.  This New York Times article reports on the bombing, although it fails to tie in the verbal dispute that I feel is neccesay to contextualize the story.

Coptic Pope speaks on al Qaeda

Al Qaeda in Iraq is engaging in a war of words with Egypt’s Coptic church, which has actually elevated to include an attack on a Baghdad church.  However, as this Al Arabiya article explains, the pope does not fear al Qaeda, which he says is not popular or present in Egypt, and feels that the conflict will unify and rally support for the church.