Amidst all the grim news in the media about wars, rumors of wars, corruption in high places, etc., one occasionally sees an item on the Internet which offers a “ray of hope” that sometimes good things do happen. The first link shows photos of a welcome sight: Christians acting protectively toward Muslims in Egypt during Muslim prayers and Muslims forming a protective ring around a [presumably Coptic] Christian church during its services.
I think its a sure thing the tolerant Egyptian Muslims who were acting protectively toward the Christian church were not members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the grand scheme of global geopolitics, these were small gestures, but important ones. I thought them worthy of being seen by everyone who reads this blog.
In a related media story, I read an article this week in Smithsonian magazine about the effort to save tens of thousands of historic Islamic documents and scrolls located in Timbuktu, Mali during that city’s occupation by Al Qaida-backed radical Islamists who were inclined to destroy them because the Islamic scrolls from previous centuries urged a moderate and peaceful coexistence with people of other religions. The radical Islamists wanted to destroy the evidence that Moslems had ever been moderate or tolerant, but several people risked their lives to save the scrolls (the French military also saved the situation by driving out the Al Qaida-aligned Islamists from Timbuktu and out of northern Mali). The article is noteworthy as it shows two very different sides of Islam.
The article records that in 1853, a Moslem “spirirtual leader in Timbuktu beseech[ed] the reigning sultan to spare the life of the German explorer Heinrich Barth.” The German explorer had “earned” a death penalty by entering Timbuktu as a non-Moslem at that time, but the sultan granted clemency at the request of a respected Moslem spiritual leader. On the other hand, the article documents the “enormous cruelty” by the Al Qaida Islamists toward fellow Moslems in Timbuktu when they recently invaded and occupied it. When you read what they did, you will agree that “enormous cruelty” is not an exageration, and that the French military is to be praised for expelling them from Timbuktu and Northern Mali. The same kinds of radical islamists that were so cruel in Timbuktu are leading some of the major Syrian rebels units that are now trying to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria. These same kinds of radical Islamists are fighting and killing Christians in Nigeria as well. The recent experience in Timbuktu shows these radical Islamists can be very cruel toward fellow Muslims as soon as they have power in any locale.
The links document that not all Moslems are evil Al Qaida-type terrorists. Westerners need to see examples of moderate Muslims who can reach out positively toward Christians. I found the photo of Moslems and Christians acting protectively toward each other in Egypt to be heart-warming and encouraging. I hope you react the same way toward those photos.