Everyone has been watching Egypt since January 25th when the first protests began calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down after almost 30 years in power. Many have discussed the political future of Egypt should Mubarak leave before the September elections. However, an aspect of the story that has been under-reported is the solidarity between Christians and Muslims in these protests.
The relationship between Egyptian Christians and Muslims has been tested over the past few years with the most recent event occurring on New Year’s Eve when a car bomb exploded in front of a church in Alexandria, killing 21 and injuring over 70. Many were worried that tensions between the two groups would flair up and continue to grow. However, what we have seen in Egypt since the bombing with solidarity between both groups has been inspiring.
On the Orthodox Christmas on January 7th, thousands of Muslims attended Christmas masses and many acted as human shields outside of churches. During the recent protests, religious leaders have been emphasizing that this it is an Egyptian movement and not a religious movement. Moreover, some protesters were carrying signs that had both the cross and the crescent to represents the solidarity of Christians and Muslims. Yesterday, February 6th, to show interfaith unity, Muslims participated in a Christian mass while Egyptian Christians formed a shield around Muslims while they prayed.
Despite the fears of some Christians and Muslims about the future leadership of Egypt, hopefully the protests will bring Christian and Muslim Egyptians together and remind them that they share a country and a future.
What do you think of these interfaith gestures? Do you think Muslims and Christians in Egypt will continue to move forward? How do you think these protests will affect the future of interfaith solidarity in Egypt? Please share your thoughts below.