Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has denied involvement in the wave of attacks on churches and Christian institutions in this week's violence.
“Based on the true nature of our religion, and pursuant to our party’s indivisible principles, we strongly condemn any attack, even verbal, against Copts, their churches or their property," Dr. Murad Ali, a spokesman for the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said in a statement.
A similar message has appeared on the official English Twitter account of the Muslim Brotherhood, though the associated hashtags could be considered somewhat conflicting:
More than 600 people have been killed since the latest wave of violence began Wednesday, as the interim government attempted to disband the sit-ins in support of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.
According to The New York Times, many Islamists fault Egypt's Coptic Christians -- who make up about 10 percent of the population -- for supporting Morsi's ouster. Attacks on churches are viewed as retaliation.
“When Pope Tawadros comes out after a massacre to thank the military and the police, then don’t accuse me of sectarianism,” 35-year-old accountant Mamdouh Hamdi said.
A Christian Coptic rights group in the country says they have recorded 74 attacks on churches and Christians so far, and in some of those attacks, the churches were "burned to the ground."
Islamist columnist and author Fahmy Howeidy wrote in al-Shorouk daily on Thursday that Egypt is being firmly divided.
‘‘The spark of civil war is out," he wrote. "The nation is on the edge of an abyss.’’
Fox5 has more on the story:
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