Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has called an urgent meeting of the Egyptian cabinet following the violent clashed in the capital Cairo overnight.
The clashes began after several hundred conservative Muslims gathered at a church in the Imbaba district of Cairo. They claimed that a Christian woman who had had a relationship with a Muslim man was being held in the church and prevented from converting to Islam.
Following what began as protesters and church guards verbally clashing with each other and locals from the area, violence broke out and stones, fire bombs and guns were used as the two sets of protesters clashed violently.
Emergency services and security forces, using armoured vehicles, took several hours to contain the violence and eventually bring the situation under control.
Two churches and several homes in the area were set on fire during the overnight violence.
Prime Minister Sharaf was due to visit Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates today but cancelled the trip to call his cabinet together in an emergency meeting to discuss the violence.
Egyptian authorities have struggled to bring law and order to the country following the popular uprising which saw Hosni Mubarak step down as president in February.
Authorities have detained around 190 people in connection with the clashes and they will face the Supreme Military Court. The authorities hope this will act as a deterrent to future protests.