Muslims prayed while Christians protected them. And today, Muslims returned the favour as they stood guard around Christians participating in a Sunday service. Tahrir Square continues to witness remarkable scenes of inter-religious solidarity in the struggle for freedom and justice.
Remember this renewed solidarity is happening in a land where a Coptic Church in Alexandria was attacked on 1 January 2011 in a suicide bombing, killing 23 and injuring 97.
CAIRO: Christians and Muslims recited in unison the “Our Father” prayer in Tahrir on Sunday, a day intended to commemorate those killed in pro-democracy protests since Jan. 25.
Egypt’s Protestant Asr El-Dubara Church has played a big role in calling for a Christian prayer in the central Tahrir Square, in which protesters have camped since Jan. 25.
Protestant preacher Ihab El-Kharat led two sermons at 1 and 2 pm at the Square. “This is a blessed land. … Peace will always prevail in this country,” he told the tens of thousands that flocked to Tahrir, or Liberation Square.
“We are all one. Muslims and Christians are one,” he said.
This was proved true when a man who identified himself as Antoine, an Egyptian-French affiliated with the Catholic Church but only representing himself, recited the “Our Father” prayer.
The widely known Christian prayer was loudly recited after him by Muslims and Christians alike in a heartwarming show of unity.
Objections rose when he reached the part about forgiveness. “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,” he said. “And we forgive Mubarak.”
The crowd refused to offer their forgiveness, citing the still-unrecognized killing of about 300 protesters.
Pope Shenouda, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, had asked members of the church not to join protests. However, a man who said he’s from the Melli Council of the Coptic Church but only representing himself recited a prayer of gratitude.
All speakers emphasized however that they represent all Christians in Egypt regardless of the sect.
A memorial was also held for those killed during what was dubbed the “Sunday of Martyrs”.
To add a hopeful note, a couple tied the knot in Tahrir, celebrating their marriage with the protesters.
Egypt’s Muslims and Christians united for the toppling of Mubarak’s regime
CAIRO – Joining hands against the regime of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian Muslim and Christian protestors shared funeral prayers in Tahrir square on Sunday, 6 February, for the victims of brutal security crackdowns on demonstrations.
“Nothing can describe our feelings,” Michael Muneer, a Christian activist and chairman of the civil organization “Hand In hand for Egypt”, told Aljazeera satellite channel.
“Christians pray and Muslims defend them. It is a touching scene.”
In the course of what Egyptian protestors called the “Week of Resistance,” protesters took to the streets for a “million marsh” in the 13th day called “Sunday of Martyrs” as ripples of normalcy slowly swept across Egypt.
Protestors gathered for afternoon prayer after which they prayed funeral prayers in absentia for those killed during the protests, estimated at more than 300.
By one o’clock PM (CLT), Christians started their Sunday Mass in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as Muslim protesters formed a ring around them to protect them during the service.
Chanting “one hand,” they appeared holding the Holy Quran and the Cross as Christians and Muslims crossed their hands.
Since the eruption of the protests, no single attack was reported on any church in Egypt, though all police forces withdrew from their locations in front of churches.
Last Friday, more than a million Muslims gathered for Friday Prayer in Tahrir Square in a day dubbed as the “Friday of Departure.”
Photos taken during the prayers showed Christians forming a ring around their fellow Muslims to protect them during prayers.
And further on:
Stressing their unity with Muslims against Mubarak’s regime, Christians vowed that they will not leave Tahrir square until the aging leader quits.
“Today there is no distinctions between Muslims and Christians,” Muneer told Al-Jazeera.
“We have forgotten everything and look for a brighter future for Egypt.”
Muneer accused Mubarak’s regime of oppressing Christians.
“It was Mubarak’s regime that invented sectarianism,” Muneer added.
“Christians are not against Muslims, they are against the regime.”
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Muslims make up 90 percent of the country’s 80 million people, Copts 9 and other Christians 1 percent.
“We will continue our sit-in in Tahrir square till this tyrannical regime collapses,” said Father Fawzy Khalil of the Orthodox Church, who led the Mass.
“We will be patient waiting for the shining of the sun of the freedom.”