“Mistrust and resentment have grown in recent years, and it is a situation that should be addressed”, said Father Luciano Verdoscia, a Comboni missionary who lives a few hundred meters from the epicenter of violence in Cairo last night.
During the evening news, Egyptian television showed images of the military vehicle that drove into the crowd of protesters, precipitating the situation.
“The most serious clashes,” said Father Verdoscia, “took place on the riverfront, near the headquarters of state television and about 500 meters from the Egyptian Museum.”
As for the dynamics of the incident, there is much that is still not clear, but what is of great concern are the possible repercussions of the violence for the “transition” managed by the military through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In late November, a first round of legislative elections is scheduled, a process that should lead to the establishment, next year, of a constituent assembly and the drafting of a new Fundamental Law.
According to Father Verdoscia, it is difficult to understand if and what will change as a result of last night’s confrontations.
Certainly the Copts, a minority that make up about 10% of the 80 million Egyptians, often feel that they are the victims of injustice.
“Christians sometimes exaggerate,” says the missionary, “but discrimination does exist, and now they are also concerned by statements from extremist groups seeking the introduction of sharia, or Islamic law.”