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Egyptian Muslims Serve As “Human Shields” During Coptic Christmas Services

After a New Year’s Eve attack against Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt, there was some concern that this week’s celebration of Christmas by Egypt’s oldest Christian community (which follows the same calender as the Orthodox Church) would lead to more attacks. Which is why many Egyptian Muslims decided to show up at Coptic Churches last night:

Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community

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.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

It’s an action that stands in stark contrast to the prevailing meme in some quarters in this country that ascribes the actions of a small minority of Muslims to the Islamic faith as a whole. Maybe a few people here in the United States could learn a lesson here.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron says:

    At the base of the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s good to see Egyptians supporting their fellow citizens against chaos and death.

    Agreed on the need for action here. I’d like to see a strong, consistent message from USA Muslims and their clergy supporting freedom of religion, tolerance of views they don’t share and condemnation of terrorism to accomplish political objectives.

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  2. Pamela Geller’s head just exploded.

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  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Ron,

    Agreed on the need for action here. I’d like to see a strong, consistent message from USA Muslims and their clergy supporting freedom of religion, tolerance of views they don’t share and condemnation of terrorism to accomplish political objectives.

    (a) They already do that, but (b) they shouldn’t have to, any more than all Christians should be responsible for condemning abortion clinc bombings or terrorism by the IRA.

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  4. Ron says:

    Alex:

    A: Apparently not enough to combat the inverse message. Review the polling data as it doesn’t support your assertion.
    B: Ad hominem tu quoque.

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  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Ron:

    A: Polls have consistently indicated that American Muslims are less likely to endorse terrorism or violence than any other population in the world. They are also less likely to condone violence against civilians in wartime than the average American.

    B: No, it’s not. An ad hominem tu quoque would be if I pointed out that you have made an inconsistent statement with your primary argument as an argument against your primary argument. That’s not what I did. I was using the example of Christian terrorism to illustrate the principle that members of a particular religion are under no obligation to condone or condemn the acts of their co-religionists, period. You’ll note that I made no mention of you or your statements at all.

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  6. Ron says:

    Alex:

    A: Please cite sources.
    B: Indeed it was, in an attempt to establish equivalency. That aside, note that the IRA has renounced violence for political ends. Also, you’re not asserting that abortion clinic violence is as prevalent as Islamic jihadism and is supported by a segment of Christianity, are you? If recollection serves, there’s been what, 3-5 incidents in the last 25 years?

    Wouldn’t you agree that Islam has yet to undergo the fundamental reform and modernization that have occurred in other religions with large observant populations?

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  7. tom p says:

    Ron… >>>.Indeed it was, in an attempt to establish equivalency<<<

    "I know you are, but what am I?"

    Please, people who live in grass houses should not stow thrones….

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  8. Ron says:

    I think you misunderstood Tom.

    To clarify, dispite Alex’s denial, his original “(b)” was an ad hominem tu quoque as it obliquely attempted to establish an equivalency in response to my comment suggesting “a strong, consistent message from USA Muslims and their clergy supporting freedom of religion, tolerance of views they don’t share and condemnation of terrorism to accomplish political objectives.”

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  9. Ron says:

    *despite

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  10. Alex Knapp says:

    @Ron:

    A: See e.g.: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1445/little-support-for-terrorism-among-muslim-americans

    B: An ad hominem tu quoque is the logical fallacy where you point out someone’s inconsistency in argumentation as a rebuttal to an argument. For example, if you argue that the sky is blue, and I say, “Well, a week ago, you said the sky was red, so the sky can’t be blue,” then that’s an ad hominem tu quoque. Please learn your fallacies.

    My actual argument, which you continue to conveniently ignore, is that a person has no obligation to condemn or condone the acts of their co-religionists, period. I used Christian acts of terrorism as an example, but I could just as easily have used Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Jewish, or other religious groups. No such obligation exists, period.

    Wouldn’t you agree that Islam has yet to undergo the fundamental reform and modernization that have occurred in other religions with large observant populations?

    That’s a vague question with ill-defined terms. What do you mean by “fundamental reform”? What do you mean by “modernization”? What do you mean by “large, observant populations”? What do you mean by “Islam”?

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  11. Ron says:

    A: “Moreover, more than twice as many Muslim Americans under age 30 as older Muslims believe that suicide bombings can be often or sometimes justified in the defense of Islam (15% vs. 6%).”

    A combined total of 21%.

    Source: http://pewresearch.org/assets/pdf/muslim-americans.pdf

    B: And yet other religious leaders consistently do so, urging restraint by all sides and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Example: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/14/international/europe/14pope.html

    No doubt you can find other resources for your semantic challenges.

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  12. Alex Knapp says:

    A: “Moreover, more than twice as many Muslim Americans under age 30 as older Muslims believe that suicide bombings can be often or sometimes justified in the defense of Islam (15% vs. 6%).”

    A combined total of 21%.

    Check your math there again, chief. That’s not quite how it works.

    And yet other religious leaders consistently do so, urging restraint by all sides and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

    So do Muslim religious leaders. Example:

    http://www.cair.com/AmericanMuslims/AntiTerrorism/FatwaAgainstTerrorism.aspx

    But again, neither the Pope, nor any Imam, nor any Jew, nor any Christian is under any obligation to condone or condemn acts of their co-religionists.

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  13. Ron says:

    I wasn’t aware I was “chief’ of anything but thanks for the promotion.

    Let’s see…Muslims under 30 + Muslims over 30 = 100% of USA Muslims (assuming age of reason I imagine).

    Muslims “under 30 suicide bombings can be often or sometimes justified in the defense of Islam” 15% + Muslims over with the same belief 6% = 21% of total. It appears correct. If not, even the 15% figure is shocking.

    The Fiqh Council instance seems suitable, even if it’s carried on CAIR’s web site. Do you have any others?

    My original comment encouraged more of tolerance dialog by Muslim religious leaders in the USA in light of Pew Survey statistics. Obligation terminology is yours.

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” – Burke This is often paraphrased as “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

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  14. […] That being said it is just as important to note positive signs and this certainly qualifies […]

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  15. matt says:

    Well the spam filter won’t let me link to a website with thousands of Muslim leaders condemning terrorists. Probably doesn’t matter as Ron would just dismiss the facts anyway..

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  16. Ron says:

    Link away Matt as I’m always willing to consider and if necessary change my opinion based upon new information. Alex and I didn’t have any trouble pasting links (which we no doubt read) and having a civil discussion.

    It’s rather curious that you are unable to do so.

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  17. mantis says:

    Muslims “under 30 suicide bombings can be often or sometimes justified in the defense of Islam” 15% + Muslims over with the same belief 6% = 21% of total. It appears correct

    Sigh. It’s only correct if Muslims over thirty and under thirty are each exactly 50% of the population. This is highly unlikely.

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  18. Ron says:

    I hope that sigh isn’t caused by depression.

    I agree with your point. According to this site, “67% of adult American Muslims are under 40 years old”

    http://www.allied-media.com/AM/

    So that would likely skew the combined total higher in the Pew polling sample.

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  19. Pheatherqyll says:

    This whole “discussion” is bogus. If you believe in something you have an implyed moral obligation to stand for and support it. That includes supporting it’s good points and decrying it’s negativity.

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  20. matt says:

    Ron : What part of “spam filter blocking my link” do you not understand?

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  21. Ron says:

    None Matt. I’m just questioning your disparate results.

    Since you’re obviously expert, you’ve no doubt tried http://pastebin.com/ without success.

    Why don’t you provide the search engine keywords that led you to your suggested link?

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  22. matt says:

    IF you’re too stupid to do a simple search on google I’m not going to hold your hand through an incredibly simple set of steps..

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  23. Ron says:

    Like this Matt?

    http://snipurl.com/1t20g0

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  24. Dinesh Patel says:

    Alex Knapp says:
    Friday, January 7, 2011 at 16:41
    Ron,

    Agreed on the need for action here. I’d like to see a strong, consistent message from USA Muslims and their clergy supporting freedom of religion, tolerance of views they don’t share and condemnation of terrorism to accomplish political objectives.

    (a) They already do that, but (b) they shouldn’t have to, any more than all Christians should be responsible for condemning abortion clinc bombings or terrorism by the IRA.

    Come on! That comparsion is really wearing thin now! What next, the Crusades? LOL
    How many people have Christians slaughtered in the abortion clinic bombings? Approx 7
    More people died in 2 hours on 9/11 than in 40 years of sectarian violence in NI. Why not just copyy/paste everytime there is a Islamic terrorist attack?

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