About two weeks ago, Coptic Christians living in Los Angeles held a rally in front of the Federal Building near UCLA in an attempt to bring awareness to the plight of Coptic Christians living in Egypt. On a good weather day, I’m within an hour of the Federal Building, and so wanted to attend. I’m an agnostic, not a Coptic Christian, but I was planning to stand in solidarity with them.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature conspired to make joining the demonstration impossible (it was snowing heavily in the San Gabriel Mountains that separate my home from the Federal Building). As a next best thing, I thought I could at least post a YouTube of the protest at my blog here. But I notice that no one has actually put up any video from the recent demonstration (at least not yet). In January 2010, however, there was another rally on behalf of Coptic Christians at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. Some people YouTubed that one, so I offer a brief clip of it here:
It’s not widely known, but Coptic Christians actually make up about 10% of the population of Egypt. To my mind, the hostility and prejudice directed toward Coptic Christians in Egypt by the Muslim majority—and the Christians’ struggle for equality, dignity, and freedom there—has resonances with the African-American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. I don’t know whether the Egyptian Christians have their equivalent of a Martin Luther King in Egypt right now, but they certainly need one. And from America, King would have stood with these Coptic Christians. Here is one more video in solidarity with the Coptic Christians of Egypt:
As to how many Muslims joined Christians in solidarity at the Federal Building in Los Angeles two weeks ago, I don’t know. But it appears that, at one rally in Egypt, some liberal Muslims (and no, I don’t think that has to be an oxymoron) marched in solidarity with the Christians. This was in the Los Angeles Times two weeks ago:
Hundreds of Egyptians took part in a demonstration Sunday morning to condemn the church explosion that took the lives of 21 Coptic Christians in the coastal city of Alexandria in the early hours of 2011. In the suburb of Shubra, downtown Cairo, some 500 Muslim and Coptic activists, politicians and other civil society leaders led a protest to show solidarity with the Egyptian Coptic minority and to denounce Saturday’s deady assault. Marchers shouted the slogans, “A Muslim and a Copt hand in hand to create a new dawn,” and “Not a police state, not a religious state, we want Egypt to be a secular state,” as they carried banners showing the crescent along with the cross, which has been a historical symbol of unity between Egyptian Muslims and Copts.
Notice that this report only puts the number of marchers in the hundreds. After so horrendous an act—the bombing of a church—why didn’t more people come together?