Coptic Christians holding hands in solidarity and protection while Egyptian Muslims pray in the streets of Cairo.
One of my favorite memories ,when visiting Egypt years ago, was meeting some Coptic Christians in a 1000 year old farm village. We were there as guests of Moslin, whom we had met on the streets of Cairo. He was studying to be a travel guide at American University. This is an important position in a country that depends on tourism to survive economically. His English was perfect so conversation was easty. He told us that he was Muslim and in fact had been part of an elite military squad that had been the first to attack Israel through the Sinai in the war of 1967. I have to admit that was startling as I have always been pro-Israel and had never thought much about the attackers of Israel in other than a negative way. Now, here was someone who was kind and welcoming to us yet an enemy to my friends. It did give me pause, though my allegiance hasn’t changed, knowing the face of descent reveals how conflicting positions are real.
At the end of the day in the village, we went to a house for dinner. As we entered, I saw a picture on the wall of the Nativity scene of the birth of Christ and a crucifix under it. I smiled and tried to communicate with my body language that I , too , was a Christian. We were fed and made to feel very welcome, far away from home, by this man Moslin and this Christian family. Today, I have no idea whether they are safe or in harm’s way, but I do consider them all friends of mine and of each other. Egypt is burning and Coptic Christians are being killed, persecuted and their churches are being leveled by fire. The Coptic Church was started in Alexandria in 33 AD by John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. It is considered one of the oldest Christian communities. They have lived and worshiped in Egypt for over 2000 years as safe and productive citizens. Today they are being singled out by angry mobs. I have been thinking of these friends quite a lot lately and praying for their safety.
Yesterday, while looking at the pictures on the net of the horror in Egypt, I found this story from Canada Free Press which gave me hope. The headline was Images of Solidarity as Christians Join Hands to Protect Muslims as They pray During Cairo Protests.
And during Friday prayers, the faithful Muslims prayed in front of a Coptic Christian Church in an act of solidarity with the Christians.
In the Canada Free Press yesterday, there was an interview between a Coptic Christian and a Muslim together in the streets of Cairo:
“They, (the Muslim Brotherhood) want to make discord between us and they think we will fight each other because of what they are doing. Let them come now and see how we stand united. They don’t belong to any religion because they come to burn and destroy the house of God.”
The reply by a Muslim man: “My brother, we all know this , even if this was your own house, (instead of your church) we would all defend it. ”
Next, a tank arrived in answer to a 911 call for protection, the driver saw Muslims and Christians together. He raised his hand in victory and drove off to answer another call.
Namaste. . . . .. This is Egypt today!
images from Google Public domain