An all-too-rare moment of common humanity, but it’s a ray of hope:

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candlelight vigils held outside.

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “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.”

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

2 thoughts on “Solidarity

  1. What a great story, Susie. It proves that through it all, people are basically decent, despite the “if it bleeds, it leads” news we get every day.

    I work for a small tech company that has customers all over the globe. We have salesmen and agents just about everywhere in the industrialized world except Iran. I have had frank conversations about the state of the world with Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, and to a man, none of them resent or hate Americans or Christians. While genuinely admiring America, they do question the heavy-handed clumsy way we go about our business in their part of the world. I remember one of our programmers went to Egypt for a couple of weeks last year and wad completely charmed by the friendliness and hospitality shown not only by his hosts, but by the Egyptians he met on the street.

    It seems to me that most of the conflict and strife we see today emanates from the boardrooms and government seats of power around the world. It may be an un-fixable conundrum because the leaders of the multi-national corporations and the various hot-spot nations around the world assume the worst of people and act accordingly. On the ground and in the streets, everyday people assume the opposite.

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