File image - A woman holds a copy of the Koran and a cross during a protest in Cairo.

Qena, Egypt - Muslims and Christians Friday clashed in a southern Egyptian village, in the latest flare-up of sectarian violence in the predominantly Muslim country.

Angry Muslims torched shops owned by Copts in the village of al-Marasheda in the province of Qena after a 60-year-old Coptic man was accused of sexually assaulting a six-year-old Muslim girl, said witnesses.

Police have been deployed across the village to prevent a feared renewal of violence, added witnesses.

There were no reports of casualties.

Tensions occasionally rise between Egypt's Muslims and the Christian minority due to disputes about religious conversions and places of worship.

Christians, thought to make up around 10 per cent of Egypt's 82 million people, are increasingly unsure of their future amid the rise of Islamists to power after Hosny Mubarak's ouster almost two years ago. - Sapa-dpa