Tensions between Coptic monks who dwell in remote monasteries in Egypt and the Egyptian military flared this week as the nation struggles to find its way forward after President Mubarak's resignation. The place of religious minorities, such as Christians, in the new Egypt is still a key (and not fully resolved) question.
According to reliable reports, several monks and monastery workers have been injured in recent days. The AINA news agency reports:
Egyptian armed forces this week demolished fences surrounding ancient Coptic monasteries, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by armed Arabs, robbers and escaped prisoners, who have seized the opportunity of the state of diminished protection by the authorities in Egypt to carry out assaults and thefts. "Three monasteries have been attacked by outlaws and have asked for protection from the armed forces, but were told to defend themselves." said activist Mark Ebeid. "When the terrified monks built fences to protect themselves, armed forces appeared ...1