January 9, 2011
Egyptian Muslims Protect Copts Celebrating Christmas

Muslims offered themselves as "human shields" on Friday to protect Coptic Christians celebrating their Christmas in Egypt just a week after a church bombing that killed 21 people. Under the Coptic calendar, Christmas Day falls on Jan. 7.

Egypt's Ahramonline reported that droves of Muslims had turned up at Coptic churches to act as "human shields."  It quoted Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon credited with first floating the "human shield" idea, as saying, "We either live together, or we die together."

"This is not about us and them," Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly, told Ahramonline. "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."

The Daily News Egypt reported that the front pew at a church in the Cairo district of Omraneya was filled with prominent Muslims from the neighborhood. In his sermon, Father Hanna thanked the Muslims for attending. "This is the way our Egypt climbs new heights and become prosperous," the paper quoted Father Hanna as saying.

On Thursday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's two sons Alaa and Gamal attended a Christmas Eve mass at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, where the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenuda III, conducted the service.

On Friday, about 100 opposition group members in Cairo gathered in a demonstration of solidarity with the Copts. "One people, one blood," they chanted.

Read the full article in the National Post (Accessed January 9, 2011).

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