Copts celebrate Christmas amid tight security; 'human shields'
January 07, 2011
Amid tight security-- 70,000 policemen were stationed at Coptic churches throughout Egypt, and cars were banned from parking in front of churches-- the nation’s Coptic Christians commemorated Christmas Eve on January 6, less than a week after a church bombing killed 21 and injured over 100.
Hundreds of Muslims-- including two sons of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak-- stood around Coptic churches to act as "human shields," protecting against attacks. Mohamed el Sawy, a wealthy art dealer who organized the effort, explained that the terrorist attacks on Christians were an affront to all Egyptians. "We either live together or we die together," he said.
“I would like to condole our sons in Alexandria for the martyrdom of a large number of innocent people, who had committed no sin,” said Pope Shenouda III, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, during the solemn liturgy at his cathedral.
Observers reported that the attendance at services was high. “Whatever happens I must go to church,” one Coptic Orthodox layman told BBC. “If they try to shoot me or blow me up, I will still go because this is my religion. It is the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
An explosive device was found at a church in Minya, a suburb of Cairo.
- Egypt police find crude church explosive device (The Telegraph)
- Egypt's nervy Christmas (BBC)
- Egypt's Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as "human shields" (Ahram Online)