CAIRO – An Egyptian security official and a priest say police fired tear gas and clashed with a stone-throwing mob of Muslims who had surrounded a Coptic Church in anger over an inter-faith romance.
The Muslim protesters accuse the church of helping to secret away 21-year-old Rana el-Shazli, believed to have converted to Christianity before fleeing her small town with a Coptic Christian man to Turkey.
The alleged romance ignited sectarian tension in Wasta, a rural town in Beni Suef province, about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Cairo. Clashes flared anew on Friday after weekly Muslim prayers.
For more than a month, Muslims have attacked churches over the incident and forced Christians to close their shops in the town.
Christians make up nearly 10 percent of Egypt's population of 90 million.