Michael Slackman has once again reaffirmed my suspicion that the primary duty of a foreign correspondent for a major American newspaper is to read the local press and then digest it for American audiences. This time (unlike with the garbage story), I think he gets it right.

He’s writing about the shooting of six Coptic Christians on January 7 in what was a blatant act of sectarian violence.

Egypt has experienced many clashes over the years between its Muslim majority and Christian minority, and has always insisted that the conflicts were driven by something — anything — else. A land dispute, a personal grudge, a crime for profit. The official narrative is that these are singular, unrelated crimes.

That is the case since the shooting. Three people were arrested for the attack, which killed six Christians as they left church (Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7) and a Muslim guard.

“The crime of Nag Hammadi is just an individual crime with no religious motives, just like the crime of raping the girl,” Ahmed Fathi Sorour, the Parliament speaker, said in Al Ahram, a state-owned newspaper.

Read this story or this story (or both) in Al-Masry Al-Youm English Edition for a more thorough analysis than Slackman’s.

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