Solidarity in Egypt

A story to improve your opinion of humanity:

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.

It's one to file with the Billings, MT menorah story under "Sometimes, People Are Pretty Good."

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Thank you for posting this gem. Most of Scienceblogs is fiercely hostile to religion with disturbingly regular use of hate speech.
Not only is their hope for humanity, but maybe their is hope for this site.
I doubt a group of atheists could demonstrate a similar gesture of solidarity, especially with Christianity. I shudder to imagine the backlash of criticism from fellow non-believers such a gesture of goodwill would evoke upon the participants. Accomodationists are a uniquely atheistic phenomenon. When religious followers demonstrate unconditional love and support, they are venerated as saints. The exact opposite happens to the atheist who dares to demonstrate the slightest gesture of mutual respect for their fellow man's right to religious expression.
So far, though, nobody has criticized you for posting this event. Maybe there is hope for universal tolerance and respect amongst atheists after all?

By laursaurus (not verified) on 08 Jan 2011 #permalink

The Islamic majority did this for the Coptic minority, laursaurus. I hate to break it to you, but the equivalent scenario would be for the Christian majority to show tolerance toward and solidarity with the atheist minority. In other words, your comment is just another example of the "oh, pity the poor persecuted majority" nonsense that we've been hearing every time we get a little uppity or we have the bad manners to wish someone "Happy Holidays."

By speedwell (not verified) on 08 Jan 2011 #permalink

I doubt a group of atheists could demonstrate a similar gesture of solidarity, especially with Christianity.

How kind of you. Happy New Year.

The fact that a large number of Egyptian Muslims, including imams, came out onto the streets to make the point that the loons do not speak or act for them, makes the point that Islam is not the monolithic terrorist/jihadist jugernaut envisioned by Frank Gaffney et al.

Chances of this getting ANY coverage by Faux News and their ilk? Less than zero, because it does not fit their hate and fear-filled narrative.

Chances of this receiving wide coverage in the American media generally? Close to zero.

Why do I say this? Experience.

The Luxor massacre, on November 17th, 1997, was covered exhaustively in the Western media. Justly so, as a total of 62 people were killed and some 24 wounded. Four Egyptians were killed, three police officers and a tour guide. A total of 58 foreign tourists were killed: 36 Swiss, ten Japanese, six British, four Germans and two Colombians. Twelve Swiss, two Germans, one French, and nine Egyptians were among the wounded.

Later that week, a mass demonstration was held by the local people to make the point that they were NOT supporting this savagery. Within Egypt, there were many demonstrations and calls from major political and religious figures for the violence to cease. The result was a ceasefie declaration by the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Islamist group which claimed the attack.

Coverage in the Western media? Basically, none. No blood, no rich foreigners in danger, so not news.