The news that has been coming in from Egypt has rarely been positive over the past week.
Protests, which initially began at Tahrir Square following Friday prayers on the 18th November, have escalated through the week and on the following Friday it was estimated that over 100,000 Egyptians took part in the “Friday of the Last Chance” at Tahrir calling on the military junta to step aside and allow the revolution to be completed.
Protests also spread to many other parts of Egypt and at Tahrir there were many reports of injuries and deaths from a brutal crackdown by security forces which included the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
Yet amongst this grievous news of fresh oppression in the Egyptian capital stories also emerged of a wonderful harmony and comradeship.
The security forces had begun to target the makeshift clinic set up in Tahrir Square and the many wounded and injured had nowhere to find refuge and treatment as the attacks from police and the interior security forces rained down.
In the midst of this suffering there has been a good news story, as both a church and a mosque have opened their doors and have been using their buildings as clinics where doctors and other health professionals have been able to treat those who have been hurt in the demonstrations.
Ahram Online has reported that the evangelical church on the outskirts of Tahrir Square has become a makeshift hospital as the pastor and church members have been unable to ignore the great needs of the injured protesters.
Ahram Online reports:
Pastor Sameh Morris of the Evangelical Church says that staff members decided to turn the prayer grounds into a hospital after security forces began targeting Tahrir’s field hospitals.
“We were worried that the protesters would not have anyone to treat them, and we simply could not keep the church doors closed in this time of need,” Pastor Morris says. “One of the miracles Jesus did was that he healed the sick, and I believe that it is my duty as a human being, as a Christian and as an Egyptian to help those who are wounded.”
A nearby mosque has also been opened up for use as a hospital and both the church and the mosque have been co-operating with each other to ensure that the injured are cared for.
Christians in Egypt have often faced severe persecution, and that situation is on-going, yet they have also been an important part of the protests for democracy and stories and pictures of Christians protecting Muslim demonstrators whilst they meet their daily prayer duties have been iconic.
Whilst the protests and strikes that are taking place in the UK cannot be said to be fully supported by many Christians in the country, and we should certainly not equate the sufferings of UK protesters with the injuries and deaths the Egyptians have faced, I believe that we can look to the actions of Pastor Morris’ church and have our heart warmed and our attitude challenged.