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Egypt Muslims to act as "human shields" at Coptic Christmas Eve mass
Coptic Churches around the country expect an influx of Egyptian Muslims to share with the country's Christians their Christmas Eve mass
Nourhan El-Abbassy, Thursday 6 Jan 2011
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Coptic Orthodox priests pray in the house of Fawzy Bkheit, who died after Saturday's bomb attack outside the Two Saints Church in Alexandria (Photo: Reuters)

“Although 2011 started tragically, I feel it will be a year of eagerly anticipated change, where Egyptians will stand against sectarianism and unite as one,” Father Rafaeil Sarwat of the Mar-Mina church told Ahram Online. The Coptic priest was commenting on the now widespread call by Muslim intellectuals and activists upon Egyptian Muslims at large to flock to Coptic churches across the country to attend Coptic Christmas Eve mass, to show solidarity with the nation's Coptic minority, but also to serve as "human shields" against possible attacks by Islamist militants.

Mohamed Abdel Moniem El-Sawy, founder of El-Sawy Culture Wheel was among the promiment Muslim cultural figures who first floated the bold initiative.

“This is it. It is time to change and unite,” asserted journalist Ekram Youssef, another notable sponsor of the intiative, in a telephone interview with Ahram Online. She added that although it is the government’s responsibility to act and find solutions to bring an end to such violations, "it is time for Egyptian citizens to act to revive the true meaning of national unity."

Following last year's Coptic Christmas Eve attack on congregants as they left their church in the Upper Egyptian city of Naga Hamady, Youssef created the crescent and cross logo with the slogan “A nation for all” - that was adopted during the past couple of days by many of Egypt’s 4 million Facebook users as their profile picture.
Mariam Yassin, a 24 year old video editor, will take Thursday off to travel to Alexandria to attend the mass at the Two Saints Church. “I am not going as a representative of any religion. I am supporting all those who died as a result of ignorance.”

Yassin’s friend, Mariam Fekry, was killed along with her mother, sister and aunt in the Two Saints Church attack

“I feel great sympathy for her family’s loss, yet I don’t feel that as a Muslim I should apologize on the behalf of murderers.” Yassin added.

On the other hand, Fatima Mostafa, a 40 year old house wife, will join Copts tomorrow to show that Muslims feel their sorrow. “I want to show the world that Islam is a religion of peace and that such attacks are nothing more than a result of poverty, ignorance and oppression.”

While the reasons they cite for doing so may vary, many Egyptian Muslims are rallying around the idea of acting to protect their fellow citizens.

“I know it might not be safe, yet it’s either we live together, or we die together, we are all Egyptians,” Cherine Mohamed, a 50 year old house wife said.

For Youssef, Egyptians should attend regardless of their faith as “we all have Christians as part of our family. I am a Muslim but I’m sure my great grandfather was a Christian.”

An engineer who wanted to remain anonymous stated that he was looking forward to tomorrow: “I was a Christian and I’m a Muslim now, I want my kids to go to church to realize that both religions are similar; we have one God, and both holy books stress peace and the welfare of the society at large.”

The goodwill has been well received by the Coptic Church, and Coptic priests have been expressing their pleasure  that Muslims intend to join them at tomorrow’s mass. Some churches have already put up banners welcoming Muslims to their celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Some fear the initiative will be thwarted, however. “I’m filled with happiness, I feel it will become a national celebration, yet I fear that police won’t allow Muslims to attend the mass,” Ashraf Rasmy, a Coptic volunteer worker said.

Nevertheless, Muslims and Copts are looking forward to tomorrow evening with all that it might bring. Amani Ramsis, a volunteer worker, remains defiant: “It is an anticipated celebration for all Egyptians, whether we live or die, we will never stop celebrating the birth of Jesus, and no one can bury our joy and unity.”  





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64



thesis writing
11-06-2011 02:01pm
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http://www.essaysale.com
Well God is watching us, well don't know about nothing much what christian do is right or wrong.
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63



hamada
21-01-2011 09:39pm
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happy new year
i hope all eyyptions are well
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62



Nazr
13-01-2011 06:06pm
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Those who particpated...
I am a Muslim & you made my heart swell in pride today. These butchers who bombed the church have absolutely nothing to do with Islam. These beasts have no place in ranks of Muslims, or the humanity. May they burn in hell. We are brothers and sisters in humanity. Keep up your great work. Love, and keep the hope alive!
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61



Tony Biddle, international banker
10-01-2011 06:29am
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Enlightenment & Hope
I am a cynical, skeptical Banker whose time in the Middle East goes back to the overthrow of the Shah. This extraordinary event is an oasis in the long desert of theocratic despotism that has been a pall over the entire region ever since. This is true enlightenment - and pure courage. A Mid-east Tienemin Square, that renews faith in humanity. What a way to ring in a New Year!
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60



AmericanEgyptian
09-01-2011 08:13am
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Prayers of peace
Thanks for sharing this! I wish the families, of those lost in the name of ignorance, to find peace and I wish them much patience through this challenging time. I do hope that Egyptians continue to reflect on this and stand united against terrorism and those who support it's cause in any shape or form.
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59



JK
09-01-2011 07:45am
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may they be blessed
I'm an American Christian. We never see any news about Muslims other than extremists so it is a breath of fresh air to read about these heroic people. May you be blessed always for standing against terrorists. The world needs more people like you.
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58



Cate Lord, RN, BSN
09-01-2011 06:44am
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Hope
Ultimately it's not about religion. Rather it's about the love and respect for human life and diversity that true devotion inspires. This is one of the most touching and hopeful acts I have seen in a long time. May 2011 herald a time of peace and unity across the planet. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Cate Lord, RN, BSN
09-01-2011 06:44am
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Hope
Ultimately it's not about religion. Rather it's about the love and respect for human life and diversity that true devotion inspires. This is one of the most touching and hopeful acts I have seen in a long time. May 2011 herald a time of peace and unity across the planet. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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56



Higher Heal
08-01-2011 05:02pm
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peace on earth
"we are all brother and sister, white or black or red created for one reason..for we need each others..let be love we share, hate we wipe out..for all minority..may Lord more and more makes you as HIS witness"
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Higher Heal
08-01-2011 04:30pm
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peace on earth
"we are all brother and sister, white or black or red created for one reason..for we need each others..let be love we share, hate we wipe out..for all minority..may Lord more and more makes you as HIS witness"
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