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Brotherhood-linked cleric forbids voting in Egypt referendum

Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric Yusef al-Qaradawi has issued a religious decree prohibiting Egyptians from voting in a referendum to be held next week by the military-installed interim government. Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi had already called for a boycott of the January 14-15 vote on a new constitution drawn up by the interim authorities since his July overthrow by the army.

Clashes outside Egypt church

Egyptian Islamists clashed with police Tuesday outside a church in Cairo, security officials said, as Christians held prayers to mark the New Year. The Islamists, with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, had been marching when they clashed with police standing guard outside the church. The movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi was designated a terrorist group last week, furthering a crackdown on the Islamists since Morsi's overthrow in July.

Morsi supporters torch three churches in Egypt

Supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi torched three churches in central Egypt on Wednesday in reprisal attacks as police dispersed demonstrations in Cairo, reports said. The assailants threw firebombs at Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians who comprise up to 10 percent of Egypt's 84 million people, causing it to burn down, the official MENA news agency said. Security officials told AFP that another two churches were attacked in El-Menia province, leaving them partially damaged by fire.

Top Sunni group urges Egyptians to snub army chief's call

A Sunni group led by influential cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has issued a fatwa urging Egyptians to ignore a call by their army chief to stage rallies in support of a crackdown on "terrorism". The Association of Muslim Scholars issued the fatwa, or religious decree, late Wednesday "prohibiting (Egyptians from) responding to any call leading to civil war or covering up (the army's actions) of violence against any party, or inciting sedition".

Egypt must protect Christians from turmoil: rights groups

CAIRO (Reuters) - Security forces must do more to protect Egypt's Christian minority in the turmoil following the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, rights groups said on Tuesday, citing the mob killing of four near the southern city of Luxor. Coptic Christians account for about a tenth of Egypt's 84 million people. They have suffered discrimination for decades, but communal tensions and attacks rose sharply under Mursi, who was elected president a year ago following the fall of strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Egypt preacher spared jail for 'insulting' Christianity

A court in the Egyptian capital on Sunday handed an Islamist preacher accused of insulting Christianity an 11-year suspended jail sentence. Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah had been charged with ripping up and burning a copy of the Bible during a protest outside the US embassy in Cairo against the anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims", that was produced in the US. The court handed Abdullah an 11-year suspended sentence for insulting religion, disturbing public order and defamation.

Top Muslim cleric boycotts Qatar meet attended by 'Jews'

Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi boycotted an inter-faith dialogue conference that opened in Doha on Tuesday, rejecting to sit in the meeting also attended by Jewish representatives, a local daily reported. "I decided not to participate so I wouldn't sit at the same platform alongside Jews who still violate Palestine and destroy mosques and as long as the Palestinian issue has not been resolved," Qaradawi told the Al-Arab daily of Qatar. "There is no more injustice than what the Jews have caused to our people in Palestine."

3 Coptic, 1 Muslim killed in brawl in Egypt

Three Coptic and one Muslim were killed Saturday in clashes between two families in northeastern Egypt, state-run Ahram Online reported, without mentioning the reasons behind the brawl.Some others from the two families were injured in the incident in the Qanater el-Khiriah district, Qalyubiya governorate, 40 km from the capital Cairo.A nearby Anglican Church and a nursery annexed to it were set ablaze during the quarrel, said Soryal Yonan, an archpriest of Mar Girigis Church.Yonan said the situation was tense and shots were heard outside the church which was closed to

Egypt pope blasts Morsi over cathedral clashes

Egypt's Pope Tawadros II on Tuesday accused President Mohamed Morsi of "negligence" in his response to deadly clashes outside Cairo's Coptic cathedral, the worst sectarian crisis since he took power in June. Morsi had telephoned Tawadros after Sunday's violence which saw crowds pelt mourners with stones after they emerged from a funeral service for slain Coptic Christians.

Egypt on edge after deadly sectarian clashes

Egypt was on edge Monday after a night of sporadic violence outside Cairo's main cathedral following the death of seven people in clashes between Christians and Muslims. Islamist President Mohamed Morsi has promised to launch an immediate investigation into the bloodshed. Calm was restored outside St Mark's as police deployed in force at the cathedral in the central neighbourhood of Abbassiya, where several Coptic Christians were still gathered in the morning.
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