A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Good News: Egyptian Protesters Transcend Sectarianism

If you are believing the panicked reports from Israeli and neocon American commentators that the Egyptian revolt is being taken over by Islamists, consider: After the horrific bombing of the Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's, many Muslim Egyptians turned out on Eastern Christmas (January 7) to form cordons around Coptic churches in many parts of the country. On both Fridays of the present demonstrations, Coptic Egyptians (some in clerical vestments) returned the favor. After the huge Friday prayer in Tahrir Square, the Copts held their Holy Mysteries (Mass) yesterday in the square as well. (Cairo's main "celebrity" ceremonial mosque, ‘Umar Makram, is on the square, but the nearest churches are a couple of blocks away). Again, each faith is helping protect the other.

In my earlier post on the Revolution of 1919, which I still think resembles this one more than anything else in modern Egyptian history, the revolutionaries flew the flag above, with both crescent and cross, which later became an emblem of the Wafd Party. The two communities protecting each other both suggests this is not an Islamic Revolution, and that Egyptians are united. (So far as I have seen, however, Coptic Pope Shenouda has continued to defend the regime.)

1 comment:

David Mack said...

These signs are very hopeful. However, when unemployment and food prices increase, which in the short term at least they certainly will, I fear that some may target Copts as scapegoats. Removal of Husni Mubarak, like the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, may not work out well for minority Christians.