Christians and Muslims Are One Hand
Despite all the conflicts existing in the world, it seems almost impossible for Egyptians to give way to any of the hideous circumstances to thoroughly affect their unity. Religious discrimination, politics, terrorism and many more obstacles have no room between the Christians and Muslims of Egypt. Here are some proofs:
We pray together:
It was Easter 2017 when Muslims were participating in Easter celebrations and offering their greetings at an Archbishopric Catholic church in Ismailia. It was midday prayer time so one of the Sheikhs* led the prayers inside the church because why not? We all pray to the same God.
We’re there for each other:
“Let’s pray to God to protect and look after those who are fasting with devotion and perseverance despite this hot weather,” a young Christian lady asked a group of Christians in the Evangelical church for the sake of the Egyptian Muslims fasting during Ramadan** 2018. It was in the second half of May when there were furious heat waves and the temperature went beyond 40 Celsius sometimes. However, Christians could not let that go unnoticed; they had to ask God to support their fellows.
Muslims protected the churches and attended the mass -in more than one occasion- to stand by Christians against terrorism which aimed at sabotaging the rapport between Egyptian Muslims and Christians by bombing Churches. Muslims felt it was a duty towards their neighbors, friends, co-workers and all Christians, even if their lives were the price.
We’re all Egyptian. We have one goal:
During the 2011 demonstrations in Tahrir square***, Christians used to make a human wall to guard the Muslims while praying in case of any sudden attacks. They would stand in a circle, holding hands and facing outwards to be able to watch and see if any danger was about to happen as Muslims prayed peacefully in the middle of the circle.
Another situation was during the demonstrations in Ramadan 2013. All Egyptians went out to the streets and squares on the 27th of July. The Church stated that it was a fasting day for Christians because how can they let Muslims fast alone on a day like that. At sunset, the Churches rang their bells harmoniously with the mosques’ sunset prayers “صلاة المغرب” announcing the time to break the fast for both Christians and Muslims.
We joke together:
A joke went viral between Christians and Muslims on social media during one very hot Ramadan: “Dear fellow Christians, only those who are sick or traveling have an excuse not to fast. Qur’an didn’t mention Christians. So don’t try to get out of it :D” posted some Muslims and Christians playfully.
When Mohamed Salah got injured by Ramos in Ramadan 2018, all Egyptians went furious and crazy on social media. One Muslim person posted “Ramos, you’re lucky we’re fasting and we cannot really express our anger!” **. But then, a Christian guy replied “Don’t worry! We’ll express the anger instead of you.”
My personal experience:
One of my best friends is a Christian. But to be honest, we rarely notice the religious difference, although she’s very religious and I am a strong believer myself. I cannot keep the record of how many times I went to church with her to attend the prayers or religious celebrations. She would also help me make food bags for poor people during Ramadan and also accompany me to distribute them.
Even if there’re some arguments about it, Egyptian Christians and Muslims will always be one hand.
*Sheikh شيخ: An Islamic religious title for a man who’s a big religious figure.
**Ramadan رمضان: An Islamic month when Muslims fast (no eating or drinking) every day from dawn till sunset as well as controlling their temper and getting rid of any bad behavior during the whole month.
*** Tahrir Square ميدان التحرير: The square that hosted the Egyptian revolution in 2011.
Note that Omar Ibn El-Khattab, the second Caliphate did the same when he visited Egypt but he preferred to pray nearby the church as he didn’t want the rest of Muslims to do the same and intrude on the privacy of the Christians in their churches.
IH Cairo Teacher