“We Either Live Together, or We Die Together”

Coptic Christmas is celebrated on January 7 of each year. On 1 January 2011, a terrorist attack—apparently by radical Muslims—on Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt, killed 21 Christians. Following the terrorist attack, solidarity between many Muslims and Coptic Christians occurred. Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon, said, “We either live together, or we die together.” On 6 January 2011, thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic churches in Egypt to act as human shields. Their message: If you kill these Christians, you’ll have to kill us Muslims, too. The human shields included the two sons of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, and thousands of other Egyptian citizens. Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass, said, “This is not about us and them. 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.” Following the massacre of 21 Christians, the image of a cross within a crescent—the symbol of “Egypt for All”—appeared as the Facebook profile picture of millions of Muslim Egyptians. In Alexandria, many banners appeared that showed mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, and calls for unity. Muslims are the majority in Egypt; Christians are a 10 percent minority.

For More Information: Yasmine El-Rashidi , “Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as ‘human shields.” Ahram Online (Egypt). 7 January 2011 <http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/3365.aspx>.

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