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Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed El-Tayyeb said in an interview with Al-Mosawwar magazine, “Muslims are demanded to defend all worship places, not only mosques but also churches.”
Although the Egyptian government tightened security measures around all churches during the holiday season after an extremist group recently attacked a Coptic church, nothing alleviated the sense of impending danger the Christians felt – except their Muslim neighbors.

 

Dr Ashraf Ezzat writes: Forming human shields by standing close to each other joined hand in hand in large circles, Muslims surrounded and practically shielded the main churches in a clear message to the world that solidarity between Egyptian Christians and Muslims will not be broken or sabotaged.
It was a gesture that thousands of Egyptian Copts welcomed and embraced. On Christmas night, the fears Egyptian Christians had over attending Christmas mass vanished to be replaced by the warmth and sincerity displayed by their fellow citizens –Muslims– who joined in to celebrate Christmas with them.
It was the first time for some Muslims to attend the Christmas prayers with their fellow Christians but they felt compelled to make an obvious statement, declaring that civilized people do not yield to the intended resullts of terrorist plots so easily. Civilized people confront danger; they embrace each other and protect one another. They rally in demonstrations of love and solidarity yelling out the slogan, “We live together or die together.”
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