27 March 2011
Once the results of the referendum were announced last Sunday, the village of Dalga in the Upper Egyptian region of Minya was the scene of Muslim demonstrations and Muslim Coptic clashes which left several injured.
A first-hand report to Watani by the Coptic villagers painted a picture of a rejoicing Muslim crowd which toured the village streets shouting: “By all means, we have brought the Cross to the ground,” and “Islam is the winner”. Coptic homes and churches were hurled with stones. A few reasonable Muslims protected the Copts and tried to put an end to the clashes by calling the police and the army for intervention, but none showed up.
The Muslim villagers, in general, had voted “yes” to the constitutional amendments, fearing that a “no” vote would have entailed a future change to the Constitution, which might have jeopardised Article 2 that stipulates Islam as the State religion and Islamic sharia (jurisdiction) as a major source of legislation.
The majority of Copts, for their part, had voted “no”.
The village of Murgan in the vicinity of Dalga and inhabited by a majority of Copts, saw angry Copts demonstrations because no polling station had been assigned to their village. In order to vote, they had to travel some distance to the nearest village, a move which they considered as an attempt to dissuade them from voting.