June 8 - One month after the church of Saint Mary in Cairo was attacked and set on fire renovations are complete and the place of worship has reopened. Simon Hanna reports.
A fire rages through the church of Saint Mary in the Cairo neighbourhood of Imbaba in early May. Residents were left reeling after the church was set ablaze following an outbreak of sectarian violence which left 12 dead and over 200 injured. A month later and the scene is an altogether different one, as the church celebrates its reopening. Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf attended the opening ceremony, where the emphasis was on Muslim-Christian unity. The CEO of the company responsible for the renovations also called for consensus. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE ARAB CONTRACTORS, IBRAHIM MAHLAB: "There is no difference, all of us we are looking to Egypt as it is glory, and no one can touch Egypt. If you can touch the relations between Muslims and Christians this is a red line, and I am giving a message - don't cross this red line." In the aftermath of the violence in Imbaba, the interim ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ordered the church's reconstruction, setting a three week deadline. But despite the speedy renovation, there are concerns that the underlying causes of the sectarian strife have not yet been addressed. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: "The issue isn't about this church. Another church could have been hit, but the problem isn't the church itself. The problem is that the way of thinking has to change. We have to tell all these people that whoever strikes isn't just striking national unity or Christians or Muslims, but are striking a nation. These people who adopt these struct trends beed to become more mature, they need to look to the future in a better way." The clashes in Imbaba last month were not the first of their kind since the Egyptian uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. On March 9 thirteen were killed and many more injured just days after the torching of another church south of Cairo. Simon Hanna, Reuters.