“CAIRO — An Egyptian court sentenced a Muslim man to death Sunday for killing six Christians and a Muslim police guard outside a church in a drive-by shooting more than a year ago.
The ruling comes at a time of growing fear and fury among Egypt’s minority Coptic Christian population after the recent bombing outside a church in Alexandria, during New Year’s Eve Mass, that killed 22 people and wounded more than 90.
On Sunday, an Egyptian state security court, amid heavy protection, convicted Mohamed Ahmed Hassanein, more commonly known as Hamam el-Kamouny, 39, for the “premeditated murder” of the seven people who were killed during the shooting last January, as well as for the “attempted murder” of nine others who were wounded.
Egypt’s Muslim majority and Christian minority have a long history of peaceful coexistence and a deep sense of national identity that continues to unite them. But the recent rise in religious fervor, especially among Muslims, in Egypt and around the region has strained relations between both groups and led to sporadic eruptions of violence.
There are no official statistics on the size of the Christian minority in Egypt, but it is generally accepted that they make up about 10 percent of the population.”