Last Thursday, Egypt unveiled the restored St. Anthony’s monastery near the Red Sea. This monastery is considered to be the oldest in the world. The state-sponsored renovation project has taken 8 years and cost $14.5 million and according to Egypt’s chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, represents how Muslims and Christians coexist and share a heritage. This comes within a month of the shootings on Jan. 6th, the Coptic Christmas eve, in which six Christians and Muslim guard were killed.
While there is an ongoing investigation of the shooting and the incidents of violence between the two groups has increased, events like this are important. As I mentioned in my post on the January 6th shootings, Muslim and Christian Egyptians share a heritage. It is vital to preserve all aspects of this heritage because I think both faiths call for respect and tolerance of the other. So, while I don’ t think that renovating St. Anthony’s monastery will alleviate the real problems in Egypt or erase the tension, it is a promising gesture and shows that there is a positive past to build on.
Do you think that this renovation represents coexistence between Muslims and Christians? Can projects like this bring people together? Please share your comments below.