Middle East

Police clash with anti-Christian mob in southern Egypt

Police have used tear gas to disperse an angry mob of Muslims approaching Christian homes in southern Egypt.

The Friday clashes injured four policemen and seven of the Muslim villagers. Police have made eight arrests.

The trouble in the Moheidat district south of the ancient city of Luxor began when Muslim villagers suspected that a Christian teenager who allegedly converted to Islam was being held captive by her family as punishment. Her relatives deny the charge.

Similar incidents had in the past ignited deadly sectarian violence or caused long-term damage to relations between Muslims and Christians, who account for about 10 percent of Egypt's 92 million people.

Egypt's Christians complain of discrimination by authorities, especially in rural areas where the central government's authority is weak and radical Muslims are powerful.