Egypt Unrest Brings Christians Hope, Fear

The images of violent protests across Egypt are undoubtedly worrying to all, but concerns over the chaos are felt more acutely by Egypt’s minority Orthodox Christians, who have complained for years that the current government does too little to protect them.

The New Year began in Egypt with an explosion of long-simmering sectarian tensions. Thirty minutes after midnight on Jan. 1, during a New Year’s Eve mass, a bomb exploded in front of Saints Church in the northern port city of Alexandria, killing 21 worshipers and injuring about 100 others in the deadliest attack on Coptic Christians in more than a decade.

A few days later, a 71-year-old Christian was killed and five others wounded in a shooting aboard a train, prompting three days of riots by the disaffected minority which makes up 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 80 million.



California Man Jailed in Attempt to Blow up Mosque in Dearborn

A California man is in jail on a terrorism charge after he was arrested in Dearborn for allegedly trying to blow up the biggest mosque in metro Detroit, Dearborn officials said today.

The suspect was arrested in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn on Monday, while hundreds were inside the mosque that sits along Ford Road, police said. He came to the city because of its large Arab-American and Muslim population, police said.



It’s Official: The South Sudan will secede with 99.57% of the Vote

Cheers and spontaneous dancing broke out as the first official announcement of results from South Sudan’s independence vote was made in the oil-rich region’s capital by members of commission that organized the referendum held earlier this month.

“The vote for separation was 99.57 percent,” said Justice Chan Reec Madut, head of the southern bureau of the Referendum Commission, after reading the vote tallies for “unity” and “secession” for each of the south’s 10 states. Mr. Madut was referring to the results for the south, while Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, the head of the Commission, announced the results from polling in northern Sudan and in eight countries that held voting for South Sudan’s far-flung diaspora population.


Tunisians Wary as Islamists Emerge from Hiding

Reporting from Tunis, Tunisia —

In the mornings, barber Fadhi Ayari blasts recordings of Koranic verses from his shop’s stereo. But it’s just a habit, he explains as he turns down the volume. He says he rarely ventures to the mosque just across the street.

He laughs uneasily at the prospect of the long-outlawed Islamist party Nahda, led by exiled sheik Rachid Ghannouchi, rising to prominence in the new Tunisia. Ghannouchi arrived home Sunday after 22 years in exile in Britain to cheers from more than 1,000 supporters gathered at Tunis’ international airport.



Islamist Leader Returns to Tunisia

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The leader of a long-outlawed Tunisian Islamist party returned home Sunday after two decades in exile, telling The Associated Press in his first interview since his return that critics should not compare him to the father of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and should accept that his views are more moderate.

“Some Western media portray me like (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini, but that’s not me,” Rachid Ghanouchi told the AP after returning to his North African country, where thousands of people welcomed him at the airport, some shouting “God is great!”

Ghanouchi and about 70 other exiled members of Ennahdha, or Renaissance, flew home from Britain two weeks after autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced from power by violent protests.


Thousands Protest in Jordan for Political and Economic Reforms

Islamists, leftists and union members marched Friday in downtown Amman, demanding more significant economic and political reforms to help struggling citizens.

About 3,000 people gathered in the Jordanian capital for the event, according to national police spokesman Lt. Col. Mohammad Al Khateeb. Half of those demonstrated, while the remainder walked alongside or watched from the sidelines.

Al Khateeb said there were protests in six other cities on Friday, with crowd estimates totaling 2,200.

The demonstrations in Amman were the third in as many Fridays, with protesters gathering in front of the Al Husseini Mosque to decry government policies they blame for rising prices, low wages and unemployment.