Friday, 14 January 2011

Egypt's Muslims and Christians unite

Reports of the recent suicide attack on Egyptian Christians attending a church service in Alexandria made for depressing reading. There are fears that the attack signals a growth in religious sectarianism.

I was really heartened therefore to read about the inspiring acts of solidarity Egyptian Muslims have shown towards their Christian brothers and sisters in the aftermath of the New Year's Day bombing.

Juan Cole reports that:

"Thousands of Muslims honored a promise made by their leaders and showed up at Christmas Mass or at candlelight vigils outside Egyptian churches offering their bodies as human shields against any acts of terrorists…

Father Marqus, the Bishop of Alexandria, said that in his entire life he had never seen the degree of solidarity of Muslims with Coptic Christians that he has witnessed in recent days. He said that Muslims attending the funeral of the Christian victims of the New Year’s Day bombing had treated them like Muslim martyrs, pronouncing ‘God is Great!’ in mourning, and had erupted in applause at the condemnation of the terrorists."