Muslim and Christian, Egyptians stand together against violence

Think of this as your Unicorn Chaser for the collective human soul.

On New Year's Eve, a Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt was attacked by suicide bombers. For those Coptic Christians, the bombing came with a lot of added tension. Their Christmas, like that of several other Christian sects outside the Western Catholic/Protestant divide, falls after the New Year. Many expected further bombings on that holiday. Here's what happened, instead …

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.

"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."

How's that for "wonderful things"?

Ahram Online: Egypt's Muslims Attend Coptic Christmas Mass, Serving as "Human Shields"