I read an article today that almost made me cry. On January 1, a Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt was bombed. The Egyptian government claimed it was al-Qaeda, but until now there is no conclusive evidence as to who did it. Everyone was worried about what would happen on January 7, which is when Copts celebrate Christmas. This is what happened:
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.
“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”
In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.
How beautiful is this? Instead of giving in to the pressure of turning against each other, which is what those behind the bomb wanted, Egyptians united. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better response. I wish I had been there to see all those Muslims turning up to the Church services, ready to die with their fellow Egyptians.
There’s hope I refuse the idea that humans are naturally violent or naturally prone to conflict, greed, or hatred. We live in a world that encourages us to develop our negative traits. But every once in a while something happens that shows us that we are not essentially bad: we are good too. We just need it to come out more.
Read the article here.