Protests support Salafi preacher charged with igniting sectarian strife

Around 200 people protested on Sunday morning in front of a Cairo court to support a Salafi preacher charged with igniting sectarian clashes in May.

Sheikh Abu Yehia faces trial at the Supreme State Security Court in New Cairo on charges of fueling sectarian clashes in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba. Forty-eight people are to be tried in the case.

Violence between Muslims and Christians in the densely-populated district followed rumors that a female Christian was being held captive in a church after converting to Islam. Fifteen people were killed and a church was torched.

Protesters in front of the court hoisted banners criticizing the Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh's treatment of the case, while chanting slogans in support of the detained sheikh.

In June, Cairo's Court of Appeals set 3 July as a date for starting the trials.

The defendants face charges of homicide, attempted murder, endangering public safety, fueling sectarian clashes, voluntarily torching a church and possessing unlicensed ammunition for terrorist purposes.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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