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“We either live together, or we die together.”
January 7, 2011 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Barely into the new year on Khalil Hamda street in Alexandria Egypt: "A devastating New Year’s Day terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt that killed 21 people was the latest in a spate of violent assaults against the Middle East’s vulnerable Christian communities. The car bomb explosion also injured 79 people just after midnight Saturday as worshipers were leaving a New Year’s Mass at the Saints Church in east Alexandria, Egyptian officials said." The Egyptian people responded.

Some context briefly: Copts. The Coptic Christmas is celebrated on January the Seventh.

Egyptians respond in person - "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."
Egyptians respond on Facebook - "Egyptian Facebook users, both Muslim and Christian, joined in using the popular social network to express solidarity and anger at New Year Eve's attack on Two Saints Church in Alexandria."
A Muslim Cleric too - "His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, denounced the bombing that targeted the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, resulting in the death and injury of a number of innocent victims, and he deemed it a savage act that Islam absolutely rejects."
posted by vapidave (22 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
praise be to god.
posted by clavdivs at 8:45 PM on January 7, 2011


and people.
posted by clavdivs at 8:45 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


.

Also related, Assyrian Christians having a tough time in Iraq.

Just learned about Oriental Orthodoxy (differs from Eastern Orthodoxy) quite recently dispute having grown up Christian. Protestants aren't very educated about these sort of things I suppose.
posted by melissam at 8:49 PM on January 7, 2011


Some Protestants aren't very educated about these sort of things I suppose. FTFY.
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 8:55 PM on January 7, 2011


There are times when I view the terror and the courage standing nose to nose and am overwhelmed by the contrast. It is the fact that the courage, the humanity, and the love is so much more powerful than the hate that we are able to continue.

Our challenge is to translate whatever words we write here into action in the morning.
posted by HuronBob at 8:57 PM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


vapidave, nice post.. thanks.
posted by HuronBob at 8:58 PM on January 7, 2011


True, Bohemia Mountain, but you'd think we would have learned about different Christian communities as Christians ourselves? And maybe instead of focusing on sending missions to random places that didn't want them, we could have supported these ancient Christian communities?

I guess because that would have made us question things too much. When I was about 8 I got an Orthodox icon of Mary at a Greek Festival and created havoc at Baptist Sunday school by asking questions about it. I also once asked if cats had souls and burst out crying when the teacher said they didn't...fun times at the Southern Baptist church.
posted by melissam at 8:59 PM on January 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Great post, wonderful and inspiring news. This is the kind of courage it takes to end wars. I admire those Egyptians - who have more than enough to worry about aside from this - taking the time for the sake of people they probably don't even know.
posted by smoke at 9:08 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


And maybe instead of focusing on sending missions to random places that didn't want them, we could have supported these ancient Christian communities?

You might want to take a glance at A History of God by Karen Armstrong, if you're interested in the tangled history of Christians, Muslims and Jews in the middle east.

Eastern Christians of various strains often welcomed the Muslim invaders as liberators from the cruel yoke of the Byzantine empire.

The Catholics, of course, sacked Constantinople and shipped off much of the wealth of the eastern church to Venice and other places.

Catholics and Protestants then spent a few hundred years murdering each other by the thousands in Europe.

If there's one thing Christians hate more than Muslims, it's the wrong kind of Christians.
posted by empath at 9:17 PM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


taking the time for the sake of people they probably don't even know.

I think it's actually because they DO know them. Coptic Christians are pretty well integrated into mainstream Egyptian society, as far as I know. They were there before the Muslims, after all. For that matter, they've been around longer than the Catholic Church, even.
posted by empath at 9:20 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


melissam True, Bohemia Mountain, but you'd think we would have learned about different Christian communities as Christians ourselves? And maybe instead of focusing on sending missions to random places that didn't want them, we could have supported these ancient Christian communities?...I guess because that would have made us question things too much.

No offense meant whatsoever. I have a minor in theology, and I learned a lot about different denominations/sects/orthodoxies even at my super evangelical college. I grew up in the southern baptist church, then attended a Four Square church for many years before college. I would mostly classify myself as mostly Lutheran now. I guess that what I am trying to get at, is that in institutions that take theology fairly seriously, it's pretty important to study other denominations/sects/orthodoxies/religions so that one can understand where their theology differs. I'm always saddened by folks who claim absolute truth about a particular belief without taking at least an attempt at rational discourse about their theological underpinnings.

That said, it's always wonderful to see a community of people, especially in a country as controlling as Egypt, pull together for their fellow countrymen. It was moving to me (aside for the lame zionist bit) to see Sayyed Ali Fadlullah call it like it is: the people that were targeted are innocents. as far as islam is concerned, that's haraam.
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 9:46 PM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


unrelated:
uneasy but a hopeful

Finally
posted by clavdivs at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2011


And naturally, this fight has spilled over to Australia now, with all our lovely Coptic and Coptic-disliking immigrants threatening each other. Talk of bombings. Police involved [who pays their wages again?].

Yaay for multiculturalism!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:16 PM on January 7, 2011


Plenty of younger Copts feel marginalized not integrated. From Al Jazeera:


Yousef Sidhom, editor in chief or Watani Weekly, the largest Coptic newspaper in Egypt, was more blunt.
 
"Officials and official media like to describe the attacks (on Copts) as terrorist crimes that are not targeting the church or the Copts and that Muslims and Copts have to unite against. The hidden fact, which the officials don’t want to see, is that Copts feel oppressed and neglected for three decades by the state and the authorities. They suffer discrimination in all aspects of life."
posted by Ideefixe at 10:58 PM on January 7, 2011


Thank you. It's genuinely heartwarming to see that even in extremely troubled times, many Muslims still take seriously the spiritual kinship, solidarity and common cause implied by the concept of "the people of the book".

From the Penguin Classics interpretation of the Koran, 2:62 -

Believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabaeans - whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right - shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or to regret.
posted by Ahab at 2:52 AM on January 8, 2011


So uncanny hengeman, you think that different ethnic and religious groups hating on each other is bad, so you want them out of australia? Let me just say that the lovely anti-immigrant chauvinism displayed in your comment isn't really much more enlightened.
posted by ts;dr at 7:16 AM on January 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bohemia Mountain, the addendum to that story is that this year I found that icon in some of my old childhood things and because of that and other things, I started visiting Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches. I've been to quite a few now and I love them. I have been to Romanian, Russian, Carpatho-Russian, American, Ethiopian, and Antiochian churches. I've talked with people I never would have met before of all ages and backgrounds. I love the art and the liturgies. And through these churches I feel really connected to people in the city from all over the world. Of course, there are significant ethnic divisions, but I feel like people are making an effort to cross them in this city at least.

I've also had some delicious food. I haven't been to a Coptic church yet, but I am planning to and to light a candle for those folks suffering in Egypt.
posted by melissam at 11:04 AM on January 8, 2011


If 6000 or so years of recorded history have taught us anything, it's that if you start with a homogeneous population and give them time someone will find something to fight over.

As empath said, "If there's one thing Christians hate more than Muslims, it's the wrong kind of Christians."

It's not limited to Christians, of course. Consider the fight between the Sunni and Shi'a sects of Islam. And while it doesn't make the papers much these days, Judaism is not stranger to this kind of crap (only they used fewer bombs and more swords when they were going through this phase).
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:39 AM on January 8, 2011


The part of Wales i live in still celebrates Christmas on the 7th January, the Julian (pre Georgian) calendar, traditionally - can't say i've noticed it though.
posted by maiamaia at 12:23 PM on January 9, 2011


you think that different ethnic and religious groups hating on each other is bad, so you want them out of australia?

Where did I say that?

Oh, right. I didn't. Unfortunately we haven't got the political rocks to do such a thing, like the French did not too long ago. Let's just try and limit it, going forward.

isn't really much more enlightened

Enlighten me.

Degree of difficulty: Coptic and Coptic-disliking immigrants holding hands and singing Kumbaya is not allowed.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:23 AM on January 10, 2011


uncanny hengeman: Serbs, Croats, and Greeks - none of them are Coptic. Your link describes a fight breaking out among hooligans at a tennis match in Australia. There were no bombs, no Christmas festivities, and no mention of Egypt or Egyptians. In other words, this has nothing whatsoever with the FPP. Why on earth are you bringing it up here, especially since you seem to be using the incident to justify a narrow, local anti-immigration agenda that also has nothing to do with the FPP?
posted by skoosh at 5:53 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Serbs and Croats fighting at an Australian tennis match was just a jolly aside. Tennis, fer Chrissakes!

anti-immigration agenda that also has nothing to do with the FPP?

Bomb threats directed at Australian Coptic churches as a direct result of what happened on the other side of the farking planet... has nothing to do with the FPP?

Boy, I sure wish to engage you in further debate. Not.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:04 PM on January 10, 2011


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