There’s been a lot of talk about the appalling and barbaric attacks on Christian churches and homes in Egypt by Muslim thugs, and rightly so. What’s going on there is horrifying. But this picture, of Muslims surrounding a Christian church to protect it, is very powerful to me.
It’s important to remember that every religious group has its fair share of horrible people and wonderful people, of bigots and equality advocates, of violent thugs and kind and decent people. There is no “Islam” there are many Islams, just as there is no Christianity but many Christianities. We can argue that their views are false without demonizing them and we can criticize the terrible people among them and their hateful ideologies without tarring the good people among them.
Just as there are Muslims who seek to impose their barbarism on women and gay people and non-believers, there are Muslims who work for equality and human rights. Just as there are Christians who spend their whole lives fighting to oppress people, there are Christians who march beside us and work with us for a more just and equal society. And these good people putting their bodies on the line to protect those of another faith should be praised. What they are doing is brave and dangerous and moral and decent.