2011-03-08 12:10:17

Egypt's PM meets Christians amid protests

Egypt’s new Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has met with the Christians who have been protesting since a church was set on fire on the outskirts of Cairo at the weekend -- the latest sectarian flare-up in a country already facing political turmoil.

Witnesses say the church in Helwan, on the outskirts of Cairo, was torched after a row sparked by a relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman.

“Some of the Muslim mobs in the area took the land […] and put a sign that it’s now a mosque,” says Michael Meunier, President of the U.S. Copts Association.

Prime Minister Sharaf told members of the Coptic community that he would speak to the military council about taking back the area and rebuilding the church, but so far no action has been taken.

“That’s a first time a seated prime minister has addressed any protesters in Egypt,” Meunier told Vatican Radio. “He’s trying – the problem is he’s not fully authorized. It’s still the military council that holds all the cards.”

Meunier is currently in Egypt, and has met with the Prime Minister twice to discuss the issue.

Listen to Michael Meunier’s full interview with Kelsea Brennan-Wessels: RealAudioMP3

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