Muslims form human chain to protect Christians during mass

Bravo, Pakistan. Much love and a big ‘thank you’ to these people who dared to stand up and say they’re sick of the horrific violence. A gesture like this one is so powerful and important. I’m thinking that it is also scary because they could be a target for bombers, who obviously do not want peace. That’s what makes these participants of such events even more courageous and admirable. To me they’re basically risking their lives to get together to do this. Just two weeks ago, a twin suicide bombing killed over a hundred people at All Saints Church in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. It is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians. This event was to show solidarity with the victims of that church attack. It was held last Sunday at St. Anthony’s church in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city.

I came by the heartwarming story via Bryan whose blog Bryan Patterson’s Faithworks I follow. It reminded me immediately of Egypt, when Christians there made a human chain for praying Muslims.

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Copyright: Photo by Malik Shafiq / The Express Tribune. Click photo to go to source.

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Copyright: Photo by Malik Shafiq / The Express Tribune. Click photo to go to source.

According to the article in The Express Tribune written by Aroosa Shaukat (which features other photos of the event taken by Malik Shafiq):

Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nasir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. The two men stood should to shoulder, hand in hand as part of the human chain that was formed outside the church not just as a show of solidarity but also to send out a message, ‘One Nation, One Blood’.

The article also mentioned that this was the second such event. The first one was held the previous week at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and organized by Pakistan For All – a collective of citizens concerned about the growing attacks on minorities.

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I follow the blog of writer and poet Subhan Zein, and on his Facebook too, and recently on the Facebook feed I saw this photo he had posted, with the accompanying text he had written:

This is Love  ♡ –> Christian Egyptians made human shield to protect the praying Muslims during Cairo protest ♡

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Copyright: Nevine Zaki.
Anyone reading this happens to know her website, please let me know in the comments, so that I may link the image to her. Thanks.

I was deeply moved.

A quick Google search revealed the photo was taken about two and a half years ago, making headlines in February 2011. From The Daily Mail: Images of solidarity as Christians join hands to protect Muslims as they pray during Cairo protests (3 February 2011). A quote from the article:

‘Some Muslims have been guarding Coptic churches while Christians pray, and on Friday, Christians were guarding the mosques while Muslims prayed.’

And then to add to my great delight I also found from the NY Daily News: Muslims return favor, join hands with Christian protesters for Mass in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (7 February 2011), where the following photo is taken:

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Copyright ABED/GETTY. From NY Daily News. Click image to go there.

From the same article written by Helen Kennedy:

On Friday, the holy day for Islam, Christian protesters in Tahrir Square joined hands to form a protective cordon around their Muslim countrymen so they could pray in safety.

Sunday, the Muslims returned the favor.

They surrounded Christians celebrating Mass in Cairo’s central plaza, ground zero for the secular pro-democracy protests reverberating throughout the Middle East.

Isn’t that just beautiful. I wish there’s mutual respect and support like this all the time, between all of us in this world regardless of race, nationality and religious faith. And not forgetting agnostics and atheists. Grab them for the group hug too.

Merry Christmas

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‘Depiction of nativity with Christmas tree backdrop’, by JeffWeese. Source: Wikipedia. Click image to go there.

Widely observed as a holiday on 25th December in many countries around the world, Christmas is celebrated by Christians as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus.

As my partner B is Catholic, for many years I happily join him in celebrating this joyous occasion by setting up the Christmas tree and other decorations around the house, and helping to prepare for special meals. We try to have a Christmas eve dinner every year, but in recent years this was difficult as we either had to travel, or the festive period coincided with a work project, and we were just too exhausted or there wasn’t enough time to plan and prepare. He’s a fantastic cook and he always insists on cooking the whole thing.

But happily enough, we managed yesterday. We had three close dear friends join us for a special intimate dinner at our flat. I thought it might be too cramped and uncomfortable; my place and dining table are tiny haha… but everything turned out nicely. It was the first time we had a dinner there since we moved in there about three years ago.

There’s even a Catholic church nearby, within walking distance about ten minutes, for B to go to for mass earlier today. Such convenience.