The ongoing unrest in Egypt has apparently spilled over into sectarian violence. A Coptic Christian priest was gunned down yesterday. The priest, Mina Aboud Sharweem, was shot while walking near his church in el-Arish, 214 miles northeast of Cairo.
The attack came just days after the Egyptian military staged a coup that removed president Mohammed Morsi. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, had been the subject of massive protests by the Egyptian people in recent weeks. In the aftermath of his removal, riots and bursts of violence have broken out throughout the country. There have been reports of fighting between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi groups throughout the country.
Sharweem’s murder appears to be the first major incident of religious violence in Egypt in some time. While Egypt has seen significant upheaval in recent years, starting with the removal of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, little of the violence has been prompted by religion.
Sharweem’s murder was one of several attacks by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, though the others focused on military checkpoints. The motivation for targeting Sharweem is not known, but the Muslim Brotherhood has been highly critical of Pope Tawadros, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who voiced support for the military’s removal of Morsi.