Cairo (DPA) — Thousands of conservative Muslims protested in the southern Egyptian province of Qina Friday against the appointment of a new Christian governor.
Witnesses said the protesters, mostly observers of the conservative Islamic Salafist movement, threatened to bar Emad Mikhail, the new governor, from entering the province.
The previous governor, whom Mikhail will replace, was also Christian.
Qina has seen sectarian strife in the past. Late last year, dozens of Christians and Muslims were arrested in the province after nearly a dozen homes were burnt in clashes between members of the two religions.
Residents said fighting erupted last year when it was discovered that a Coptic Christian man was dating a Muslim woman from the same southern town.
According to the government, Copts are the largest minority in Egypt, comprising about 10 per cent of the 80.5 million citizens, though Christian groups estimate they have a higher percentage of the population.