Muslims protect Coptic Christians

From the Jan.-Feb. 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Muslims protect Coptic Christians

The Egyptian story of the human shield shone forth in January amid all the mayhem and murder that captured the news. Thousands of Muslims from all over Egypt stood guard as Coptic Christians worshiped during their Christmas mass or held candlelight vigils for the 21 Christians killed a week before by religious extremists. One Muslim student expressed it this way,

“This is not about us and them. We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

Some very well-known actors, politicians and businessmen and at least one televangelist stood beside their unknown comrades at churches all across the country. It was a strong statement of solidarity with those who want Egypt’s recent, very violent, past to be just that: past.

The arts dealer Mohamed el-Sawy came up with the human shield idea and the slogan “We either live together or we die together.” It’s such an inspiring story when the majority of the population uses their own bodies to protect a 10% minority.

Ordinary Facebook profiles all over Egypt were exchanged for the symbol of a cross within a crescent–a modern way to express and “share” an old idea.

For more information and political analysis go to http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/3365.aspx.

–Jan

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