Personal revolutions for Egypt’s Christians and Muslims
Jarrod McKenna is someone I started following on Twitter last year during the months I spent at Hillsong (this is a long story, literally). Although not from Hillsong (Jarrod is Perth based), he represented a clashing of the worlds I existed in at the time – he is a Christian and also an activist – he describes himself as “recovering consumer, peace preaching eco-evangelist, larrikin seditionist & one day want-a-be permaculturalist… seeking to live God’s love.” His Twitter bio says that he is a Peace Award Recipient and World Vision Australia’s National Adviser for Youth, Faith and Activism. He was on the bill for Climate Camp late last year to teach Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) workshops. He’s a cool guy. And lots of people agree.
This afternoon Jarrod posted a link to a blog post written by a woman named Lynne. Lynne had received an email from her friend Maggie, an Egyptian Christian in Cairo. Maggie included a photograph of herself and a Muslim woman wearing a niqab. She explained the photograph and the signs they were holding: “The Arabic sign says Ahmed (a Muslim name) and Mina (a Christian name) hand in hand … The name of the young woman with whom I am standing is Nariman … I had never talked to a woman with a niqab (total head cover) before.”
Maggie continued: “Although I have been going to Tahrir regularly, last Sunday was different. And even though Tahrir is where the Egyptian revolution is taking place, I am convinced that there are personal revolutions happening there daily.
“One of the Muslim Brotherhood members in Tahrir said, “I can honestly say that today is the first time that I’ve ever met a Christian brother. We hugged and kissed and I cried because I’ve never felt so close to another Egyptian who wants the same things that I do.” People may disagree on how representative these [relational transformations] are, but surely we agree on how wonderful and irreversible these personal revolutions are.
“My friend has spoken with one member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tahrir and the man was so apologetic of what he has always called Westernized [Christian] girls in jeans. He said that they were the first to rush to his aid when he was injured and to provide him with first aid and water. He too has had a personal revolution and promised never to misjudge these young people again. It was truly heartwarming to hear.”
This sort of solidarity between faiths certainly resonated with many people around the world as it was shared on Facebook 64,000 times and on Twitter over 26,000 times. It was the image capable of quashing the fear whipped up by Western corporate media reports about potential division created by religiously motivated uprising.
These sorts of stories and images out of Tahrir Square show that Egypt’s revolution was about people’s power for democracy, not anything else.