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Egypt Christians, Muslims Unite in Tahrir

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Filed: Other Country: Israel

Sunday, 06 February 2011 13:51


Egypt’s Muslims and Christians united for the toppling of Mubarak’s regime

Egypt’s Muslims and Christians united for the toppling of Mubarak’s regime

CAIRO – Joining hands against the regime of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian Muslim and Christian protestors shared funeral prayers in Tahrir square on Sunday, February 6, for the victims of brutal security crackdowns on demonstrations.

“Nothing can describe our feelings,” Michael Muneer, a Christian activist and chairman of the civil organization “Hand In hand for Egypt”, told Aljazeera satellite channel.

“Christians pray and Muslims defend them. It is a touching scene.”

In the course of what Egyptian protestors called the “Week of Resistance,” protesters took to the streets for a “million marsh” in the 13th day called “Sunday of Martyrs” as ripples of normalcy slowly swept across Egypt.

Protestors gathered for afternoon prayer after which they prayed funeral prayers in absentia for those killed during the protests, estimated by more than 300.

By one o’clock PM (CLT), Christians started their Sunday Mass in Cairo's Tahrir Square as Muslim protesters formed a ring around them to protect them during the service.

Chanting “one hand,” they appeared holding the Holy Quran and the Cross as Christians and Muslims crossed their hands.

Since the eruption of the protests, no single attack was reported on any church in Egypt, though all police forces withdrew from their locations in front of churches.

Last Friday, more than a million Muslims gathered for Friday Prayer in Tahrir Square in a day dubbed as the “Friday of Departure.”

Photos taken during the prayers showed Christians forming a ring around their fellow Muslims to protect them during prayers.

Mubarak’s regime has been struggling with the worst crisis of his 30-year rule as hundreds of thousands of protestors are taking to the streets to demand his ouster.

Despite his attempts to appease the protestors, the demonstrators, inspired by the Tunisian revolt that toppled president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, want Mubarak to leave office now.

The protests, which started Tuesday, January 25, were actually an online rallying cry by the youth against what they see as tyranny, corruption and torture.

Corrupt Regime

Stressing their unity with Muslims against Mubarak’s regime, Christians vowed that they will not leave Tahrir square until the aging leader quits.

“Today there is no distinctions between Muslims and Christians,” Muneer told Al-Jazeera.

“We have forgotten everything and look for a brighter future for Egypt.”

Muneer accused Mubarak’s regime of oppressing Christians.

“It was Mubarak’s regime that invented sectarianism,” Muneer added.

“Christians are not against Muslims, they are against the regime.”

Simmering tensions occasionally flare up into violent incidents between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

Last September, a Coptic leader angered Muslims after saying that Christians are the origin of Egypt’s population and that Muslims are guests in the country.

Furor further escalated after the Coptic leader raised doubts about the authenticity of some verses in the Noble Qur’an.

The relations reached a critical point following a deadly bombing outside a church in the northern coastal city of Alexandria on New Year’s eve, killing at least 25 people and injured scores.

The attack drew widespread condemnations, with Al-Azhar denouncing it as running against the true spirits of Islam.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, Muslims make up 90 percent of the country's 80 million people, Copts 9 and other Christians 1 percent.

“We will continue our sit-in in Tahrir square till this tyrannical regime collapses,” said Father Fawzy Khalil of the Orthodox Church, who led the Mass.

“We will be patient waiting for the shining of the sun of the freedom.”

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Filed: Timeline

Any truth to this?

Mubarak appointed a vice-president and brought in a new government which called on all parties to join in a dialogue for the future.
All parties have been invited to take part in this dialogue except for the Copts

"This has angered Copts worldwide, especially since they believe their January demonstrations all over Egypt after the bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve was the spark that ignited the present uprising 'by breaking down the barrier of fear.'"

She said that this view is also held by the Coptic Church, whose Bishop Anba Suriel of Melbourne told The Australian on February 5, 2011, that he believes "
the nascent revolution began with the New Year massacre of 23 Copts

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Coptic Pope stresses the need for "security and stability".

many Copts say they now find themselves praying for President Hosni Mubarak's government to last as long as possible.

It's not that the Copts — who make up about 10% of Egypt's population of more than 80 million — see the autocratic three-decade president as a great friend. Far from it, they say. As recently as last month, Christian youths in this coastal city protested what they called the government's failure to root out growing anti-Copt harassment, which culminated in a New Year's Day bombing that killed 24 worshipers outside All Saints.

Weeks before anti-Mubarak demonstrators in Cairo began their occupation of Tahrir Square, Copt protesters in Alexandria were choking on tear gas as they faced down government police.

But now, many say they're rethinking their opposition to Mubarak's government,
fearing its collapse might spur an anti-Christian backlash
if the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamist groups gain a foothold.

"He's the best of the worst," said Sameh Joseph, a church worker at the Patriarch of the Orthodox Christians Church in Alexandria. "Whoever comes after him might want to destroy us."

So when more than 100,000 anti-government protesters took to the streets here Tuesday, most Copts steered clear.


In contrast to their criticism of Mubarak after the bombing, Christian leaders in Egypt have more recently been stressing the need to maintain order.

On Sunday, Coptic Pope Shenouda III said on government-run television that Egyptians should "safeguard the security and stability of the country."

Edited by \

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