Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coptic Christmas in Cairo

One of the churches in Coptic Cairo
All of Cairo has been thinking about the 23 people who died in the New Year's Eve bombing in Coptic Church.  Here is a link to a story about the bombing.  (Note:  there is a sensitive video from that night that's included within this newspaper article.)
The bombing lead to demonstrations that resulted in more violence, including two more deaths and many arrests.

Christmas for Egyptian Coptics was January 7.  Many people feared there would be more violence or another bombing on Christmas, but fortunately there wasn't.  Here's a video clip showing a part of a peaceful Christmas service in one of Cairo's Coptic churches:

Thanks to Molly for sending me a Truthout article that described how many Muslims went to Coptic Christmas services to serve as 'human shields' to try to protect Coptic Christians from harm.  Here's a link to that article:

Coptic Cairo.
Jeff, Cameron and I got back to Cairo on January 6.  We could sense a heightened tension.  Next to the police station five blocks from our house, I saw 4-5 personnel carriers (large blue trucks that transport soldiers).  The newspaper reported all police were on duty with all leave time being cancelled.

We went to church last Saturday like we always do.  (Our church has services on Friday and Saturday at 5pm and we usually go on Sat.)  Saturday was the day after Coptic Christmas.  We learned from the minister that church services the night before had been a bit different.  All the streets around the block that our church is on had been blocked off for security reasons.  The service on Saturday didn't have the blockades, though the police guarding the church were very vigilent and had a large police dog with them.   There were no security problems on Friday or Saturday and our church service proceeded as usual, though only about half the normal amount of people were there, probably because many in the church are expatriots who return to their home country over the holiday, so they hadn't gotten back yet.

There have been peaceful demonstrations of mourning by some in Cairo for the 23 victims of the bombing.  Things seem calmer now.

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