In Egypt, the Coptic Church is Christianity’s largest presence. What may be surprising to some Western Christians is that there may be as many as 15 million Coptic Christians living (for the most part, peacefully) with the large Egyptian Muslim population.
Coexisting peacefully seems to be extraordinary in its own right today, which is why I was and remain so amazed by this story (which seems to check out, at least as far as my amateur journalistic skills can tell):
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.
I can’t help but wonder how many American Christians would stand between our Muslim brothers and sisters on the one side and homicidal terrorists on the other. I hope that I am who would.