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Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”

Don’t expect to see this news on Spencer’s blog.

Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”

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.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“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.

The attack has rocked a nation that is no stranger to acts of terror, against all of Muslims, Jews and Copts. In January of last year, on the eve of Coptic Christmas, a drive-by shooting in the southern town of Nag Hammadi killed eight Copts as they were leaving Church following mass. In 2004 and 2005, bombings in the Red Sea resorts of Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh claimed over 100 lives, and in the late 90’s, Islamic militants executed a series of bombings and massacres that left dozens dead.

This attack though comes after a series of more recent incidents that have left Egyptians feeling left out in the cold by a government meant to protect them.

Last summer, 28-year-old businessman Khaled Said was beaten to death by police, also in Alexandria, causing a local and international uproar. Around his death, there have been numerous other reports of police brutality, random arrests and torture.

Last year was also witness to a brutal parliamentary election process in which the government’s security apparatus and thugs seemed to spiral out of control. The result, aside from injuries and deaths, was a sweeping win by the ruling party thanks to its own carefully-orchestrated campaign that included vote-rigging, corruption and rife brutality. The opposition was essentially annihilated. And just days before the elections, Copts – who make up 10 percent of the population – were once again the subject of persecution, when a government moratorium on construction of a Christian community centre resulted in clashes between police and protestors. Two people were left dead and over 100 were detained, facing sentences of up to life in jail.

The economic woes of a country that favours the rich have only exacerbated the frustration of a population of 80 million whose majority struggle each day to survive. Accounts of thefts, drugs, and violence have surged in recent years, and the chorus of voices of discontent has continued to grow.

The terror attack that struck the country on New Year’s eve is in many ways a final straw – a breaking point, not just for the Coptic community, but for Muslims as well, who too feel marginalized, persecuted, and overlooked, by a government that fails to address their needs. On this Coptic Christmas eve, the solidarity was not just one of religion, but of a desperate and collective plea for a better life and a government with accountability.

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  • Evelyn Lowe

    So sorry I am just seeing this for the first time. I was a nanny to a Muslim family for nine months. I still care for the children, occasionally.

    I love my Muslim family: A.T, Sheba, Kinza and Aariz xxx000

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  • DilloTank

    Unfortunately, these are the types of stories I am accustom to seeing almost daily.

    [Snipped: links to hate sites are not allowed. Ilisha]

  • DilloTank

    It may come as a shock to this crowd but Robert Spencer et. al. do not believe that all Muslims are evil. They do believe that while there are peaceful Muslims, the Muslim religion itself is the inspiration for the acts of violence that occur as a matter of routine all throughout the Muslim world.

    I would like to know how the story can be confirmed. I follow the Middle East pretty closely, I have not heard any thing about this.

    It is almost a daily occurrence that some Church has been burned or attacked or Christians have been massacred. And always by Muslims.

  • red

    I have worked with and known several good hearted muslim people. I hope and pray for them and I hope and pray that they will be brave enough to stand and be heard against the radical extremist in their lands. I hope and pray that we too do not get blinded against the average everyday muslim that is NOT violent and trying to live just as we are. We need to talk about our different religions and beliefs…talk not fight. Let the truth do it’s own conversion.

  • GameOverIslamists

    Don, are you a dumbass idiot Evangelicalized Malaysian? Who the fuck you represent Malaysian? Are you some kind of World Police or what?

    And since you don’t know about our politics, let me tell you one thing about our issue:

    The Allah issue

    – Blame on the dumbass Salafi Barisan Nasional government. And I got Muslim friends who are against Salafism scholars who preaches violence. Besides, too many Arab Christians and the Jews uses the word “Allah”, so I guess the hypocrite BN government who are not ‘expert’ on Arabic word doesn’t know that many Arab Christians and Jews also use the word “Allah”. And that my friend, it’s not Islam to blamed. Who’s to blame? Islamists.

    The Singapore issue

    – This is nothing to do with religion. Our conflict is based on race. Again, the stupid BN government wants to ‘protect Muslims’, but when it comes to Indian or Chinese Muslims, they failed to serve them.

    In the Sejarah (History) text book, the racist bias author did not mention more about Cheng Ho the Chinese-Muslim admiral from China, why? Because he’s a Chinese!!!

    Same thing happen to Singapore, because the UMNO government wants to divide and rule based on racial. So it was nothing to do with religion, rather because of race! Now shut the fuck up go back to Jihadwatch, the best site of degenerate people like you.

    Oh and I got bad news for you, I have many Singaporean Chinese who are against investing weapons of Israel to Singapore, that’s the another reason why they are not supporting PAP. You are not so different from our BN government. And when it comes to our revolution, don’t you try to hijack our uprising. I warn you, really deadly serious.

    By the way, I’m a Chinese Malaysian who follows a Buddhist heritage and speak and write in Chinese.

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  • Don

    @tarig, awesome – I understand the arabs are worried of israel or what the arabs are going through, All what i wanted to say is that you have to understand what israel have been going through for the past few decades to understand why they do what they do.

  • Tarig

    Jack said everything I wanted to, except point out that you are deflecting, you haven’t addressed the substance of what we have said, and instead just changed the subject.

  • Don, do try and see it from the ‘Arab’ states view (who, might I add I think are just as responsible for the problem in Gaza in many ways). Yes, there is a lot of bad talk on their side but can you blame them? They have a hugely militarized nation next door who are backed up by the US and have shown that they are prepared to go to extraordinary measures in order to ‘defend’ themselves at the cost of others in surrounding states. Oh, and they have nukes with second strike capability (submarine based apparently) which they won’t admit to while simultaneously having a go at Iran. I can understand their concerns! As has been said, Israel was offered a peace plan if it relinquished the lands that it illegally occupies but they said no. There are one heck of a lot of extremists in Israel who want war, many of them in government and in fact the Knesset relies on the votes of extremist parties to pass legislation so what hope is there? Personally I’m sick of the whole mess as I am sure are most civilians in Israel and the surrounding states and want this over with. All that needs to happen is for Israel to be reasonable, follow the rules that everyone else is supposed to and we are good to go. Simple you’d think…

  • Awesome

    @Tarig, Jack Cope – As long as the rhetoric & zionist talks from arab nations won’t stop, The situation will continue on and on without Israel making any concessions. Israel has nothing to lose.

    Israel has always been the aggressor, and has always been the biggest obstacle to peace. Israel’s very existence is dependent on a perpetual state of conflict, and with out it, the basis for its existence falls apart. Mentioning the Arab nations is nothing more than a cheap ploy to excuse the inexcusable.

  • Don

    @Tarig, Jack Cope – As long as the rhetoric & zionist talks from arab nations won’t stop, The situation will continue on and on without Israel making any concessions. Israel has nothing to lose.

  • Tarig

    ////Haven’t they seen how MLK get goals accomplished? If they went the MLK route, you guys already have two state living side by side now.////

    To follow up also, are you aware that the 2nd intifada started as a peaceful movement? The only reason it became violent is because the IDF fired over 1 million bullets in the first 3 days. Does that sound defensive to you?

  • Tarig

    //Like I said many many times, There are so many arabian countries surrounding Israel. How can you expect them to let down their guard and not be preemptive. No point pointing out other extremists or accuse anyone as islamophobic(I consider myself Skeptical rather than islamophobic) to silence criticism for what islamic extremists do. Even a small rocket attack have to be taken seriously by them. The situation is just like a hornet’s nest.
    Regarding Bassem Abu Rahma, I think it needs to be come something like a million man march to take effect. One small group or family is not enough.//

    There would be no need to be ‘preemptive’ as you put it, if Israel was interested in peace and agreed to the Saudi Peace plan, but they aren’t, they are interested in conquest. But either way, your words are an attempt to white wash any responsibility Israel may have towards the treatment of those it occupies, you know little things like the use of White phosphorous, depleted uranium, illegal annexation of land, illegal home evictions, illegal incarceration of minors to name but a few, am I right in assuming that?

    As for the million man march statement, Basem is a face of a movement, just like MLK was, you asked for someone to stand up and act like him I showed you there is. You have now moved the goalposts, but either way he is the face of a movement that is being carried out in villages up and down the westbank in protest of the illegal annexation wall, so yes it is a movement, not just a family. And what does this movement get? The same thing MLK got, beatings, tear gas, illegal imprisonment, even murder, the only difference is we are being told that the world is more civilized now, wrong!

  • Don, there is a fine line between defense which is acceptable and what is not, Israel jumps over that line a lot. Are you seriously arguing that it is balanced? How much damage have these extremists done? 13 people, 10 of them soldiers (and 4 of them killed by friendly fire), were killed during the latest what you seem to define as ‘defensive’ action by Israel. Compare that to 1,166 to 1,417 Palestinians, a heck of a lot of them children, even Israel says it only got 700 what it terms ‘terror operatives’. I do sympathize with Israel’s position and how Jew’s feel about being pushed around but it is no excuse to act like that. As has been said, Israel has been given the opportunity for peace, simply withdraw from what even the UN terms as illegally occupied land and fine, we can move. And if you think the Muslim side is extreme, you should see the Israeli side!

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