MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS AND UNREST IN EGYPT

Our media only seem interested in an ‘angle’ or in the negative side of a story, particularly if it’s religious, and usually play on people’s fears. So I was delighted to discover a good news story in my trade papers recently.

It followed bad news: the car bombing of a church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve, with 23 people killed, and much fear of more attacks.

The Coptic Christians (a very ancient church, one of the earliest) celebrate their Christmas on 6 and 7 January, and following the bombing this year there was huge security around the churches – rows of armed police, streets closed, plain-clothes security inside the churches with the worshippers.

But this time there was something different. This year, a large number of Muslims – thousands of them across Egypt – offered their services as human shields for worshippers arriving for the midnight Eucharist.

egyptian-muslims-coptic-christians-january-2011[1]

Others held candlelit vigils outside churches, and the President’s sons attended a service. The Imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Cairo said that Muslims had an obligation to protect churches and synagogues, as well as mosques.

We don’t have to be at loggerheads. We can live peacefully together. If we are as insistent on each other’s human and religious rights as we are on our own, together we can build a better world. Surely that’s got to be better than bombs.

So it’s sad to see the rioting in Egypt – but who knows? My hopes for them are that they might handle their politics the way that they handled the religious challenge, with goodwill, justice and mutuality.

Bishop Desmond Tutu:
Good is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours, through him who loves us.

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31 thoughts on “MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS AND UNREST IN EGYPT

  1. We would be surprised how many good Muslims there are, especially among the womenfolk. When I was telling somebody about my travel to Egypt, he told me he went to Egypt also, and while there, he was looking for a church to visit. One Muslim guy directed him to a church and would always remind him anytime it was time to go to church. That is the type of Muslims we have in Egypt. They seem to moderates, just as I heard those in Indonesia are. Indonesian Muslims actually have boyfriends and girlfriends, as I have been made to understand.

    Sometimes I just feel it is a matter of understanding, not that people are inherently bad.

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    1. When we think of the terrible Muslim/Christian violence in Jos and in the north, Egypt seems a beacon of hope. Maybe they could teach other nations how to live in harmony.

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      1. I dont think any humans good intentions do last for long without a fall out even among the best of people sadly its a human trait that makes us all sinners and all selfish.xx

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  2. What a wonderful and uplifting story, gillyk.
    Thank you so much for posting this, for it so gives us Hope.
    I pray for Peace each and every day, and I have had some lovely Muslim friends during my years of travel.
    It would be such a relief to all be friendly and loving again.
    Excellent news and thank you so much.

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    1. A subtle and courteous disagreement – thank you, Shimon! I am well aware of the horrors of Muslim-Christian conflict, especially as I used to live in Nigeria in the very city which is being torn apart at the moment. But unless we keep trying, and hoping, our world will not become a better place and I guess I am committed to that in my small way.

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  3. Great post, Gilly. I’m very encouraged by these heart warming stories of community cooperation. Why didn’t our sensationalist media report this story? We need Muslims (especially those devoted to peace) presented in a more positive light in the British media

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    1. It makes me cross, Athel. There is a really tedious party line that the media bang out whenever they report on any kind of situation. I could write it for them. I totally agree with you – needless to say!

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  4. I like the way you refer to your ‘trade paper’.

    It is a huge indictment that the mainstream media choose to ignore any good news stories that are truly worthy of being known. Why are they so blind….there are none so blind as those who cannot see.

    Actually, it is not a question I need to ask, we know why the mainstream media focus on the horror, even, dare I say, sometimes encouraging it.

    There is so little good news reported that a story such as the one you highlight would be well received, I believe, by all who have some belief in the good elements of humankind.

    It’s another struggle to find a needle in the haystack of information …rather like the possible parable you referred to earlier, in my post. Did this event, I wonder, generate that thought?

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    1. It didn’t, as I read your post after I’d written mine – but you’re right, it could well have done.

      The newspapers are wanting to make money – it surprises me that they don’t see that good news like this might make more people buy their paper, not fewer.

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      1. It is not just the newspaper feeds that ignored the good news, they continue to do so. It is also the other media. The whole kit and caboodle is a cynical business.

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  5. I have been to Egypt and what a wonderful country and people….It is sad that many ‘tar’ people with the same brush…it is about time we stuck together to have a united world.

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    1. Whenever I read coverage of some story in the papers or listen to the radio etc etc I am always left with the same thought – wonder what the other sides to this story are???

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  6. How wonderful – I knew about the bombing of course but I had no idea that there were Muslims doing that – how amazing and wonderful. And why didn’t the radio media tell us about this?

    Maybe the unrest at the moment will unite Muslims and Christians and Jews together against the comm on enemy of the oppressive regime. It’s so strange – when I went to Egypt last year I had a real feeling that if I didn’t go then I wouldn’t be able to for some reason… had a feeling in my bones that trouble would kick off before too long.

    Thanks for sharing about the Muslim human shield around the churches! 🙂

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    1. thanks, dt! I know ‘we’ stick up for the rights of religious minorities both here and elsewhere in the world, but it is so heartening when it is reciprocated.

      Good job you went to Egypt when you did!

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      1. It is a really heartening story 🙂 I liked the Egyptian people I met on the whole…. I mean they hassled you to part with your money but I could sort of understand why…. They must really wonder why the heck they are still living the same way they have for thousands of years on the one hand when there are all the wealthy seeming westerners visiting….

        I did love my visit there on many levels and hope they are going to be ok and get a good fair government etc.

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