Coptic Christians in Los Angeles Hold Rally for Coptic Christians in Egypt. How Many American Muslims Rallied in Solidarity Beside Them?

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?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to Coptic Christians in Los Angeles Hold Rally for Coptic Christians in Egypt. How Many American Muslims Rallied in Solidarity Beside Them?

  1. mary says:

    The ancestors of Egyptian Muslims were probably either pagan, Jewish, or Coptic Christian, all of which preceded the presence of Islam in Egypt.

  2. mary says:

    Further thoughts about the Muslim/Christian violence, through the eyes of Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a moderate Muslim who was a radical Islamist jihadi.

    “The reactions by some commentators and politicians to say that the attack was on both Muslims and Christians, … can be perceived by some as a desire to show unity between Muslims and Christian; however, on the contrary, it can be seen by others as a thinly veiled attempt to underestimate and dilute the threat posed by radical Islamists to the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt. … Attempts to avoid mentioning that Christians were targeted in this attack added fuel to the fire and can partially explain the furious reaction of some Coptic Christians after the attack. However, in the end analysis, it is fair to say that the attackers – while targeting Christians – had a bigger mission in mind which is to ignite a civil war and destabilize the secular regime in Egypt to allow radical Islamists to rule the country. The terrorists simply tried to “get more than one bird with the same stone”. …

    “Looking at the attack of January 1 in the context of other recent terror acts against Christian minorities in Iraq and the former attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt such as at the Cathedral of Nagaa Hamadi Jan 8 2010, (Nagaa Hamadi is a city that is located 700 kilometers south of Cairo) leaves little doubt that Christian minorities are being targeted by Islamist terrorists. …

    “However, it would be naïve to presume that the Al-Qudea threat is only limited to Christians. In fact, the group has attacked and indiscriminately killed thousands of Muslims including Shi’ia in Iraq, Sufis in Pakistan, and Sunnis in Algeria. Radical Islamic groups also killed hundreds of innocent Jews in Israel and slaughtered many Buddhists in Thailand. Attacking followers of different faiths, views, or believes by Islamic Radicals illustrates that the problem of the Christian minorities in the Middle East is part of a global threat that we must face and confront. Killing people from different faiths and beliefs by the hands of radical Islamists elucidates the true and underlying cause of the problem of radical Islam which is: failure to accept the ‘other’. Inability of radical Islamists to tolerate the ‘other’ has undeniable roots and a strong basis in the current mainstream teachings in the Muslim world that undervalue the life of others if they are different. …

    [Islamic scholars teach] … “intolerance and an under-appreciation of the lives of those who are different from them.

    These teachings specifically include the following:

    1- The “Redda Law” that justify killing Muslims if they rejected Islam

    2- The unchallenged Islamic jurisprudence rule that justifies killing non-Muslims if they refused to convert to Islam and reject paying a humiliating tax for Muslims (Jizzia),

    3- The rule that the compensation for the life of Christians or Jews is only half of that for a Muslim if they were killed by a Muslim.

    In other words, if the Islamic scholars rejected these teachings and provided an alternative that respects the ‘other’ and tolerates diversity, it will be much more difficult for the terrorists to promote their suicidal and homicidal ideology.”

  3. Paradigm says:

    This and all the other violence and persecution by Muslims toward minorities should be taken as a warning of what life will be like when they make up a larger portion of the population in the Western countries. In America with 1 percent they keep a low profile, in Sweden with 5 percent the Coptic church in Gothenburg had to close over Christmas and in Egypt with 90 percent it’s full-scale terrorism.

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