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Behind Egypt's Revolution

Away from news cameras, Christian, Muslim youth rediscover common ground.

Two weeks after President Mubarak left office, tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in the now-famous Tahrir Square for what they called a "Friday of Cleansing and Protecting the Revolution."

Right in the center of the demonstrations, Muslim Sheikh Reda Ragab and Coptic priest Father Khazman walked hand-in-hand through the square, welcomed by warm applause and cheering from protesters chanting "Muslim and Christian, we are all one."

Sheikh Ragab addressed the massive crowd, saying, "We came here today to show the world that there is no sectarian strife … " And the crowd chanted in response, "The time of strife has passed." 

As the world looked on in awe at the protests in Egypt that led to the ouster of the authoritarian regime, a far more profound revolution took place away from television cameras. During the last month, we Christians in Egypt have witnessed an unprecedented coming together of local Muslims and Christians, especially among young people.

Unlike typical religious dialogue gatherings, which have been en vogue since the 9/11 tragedy and typically involve religious leaders (often the same individuals) attending conferences and forums, this was entirely a grassroots movement led by what might be considered the next generation.

In the midst of the crisis, or rather perhaps because of it, they discovered, in the words of the early 20th-century Arab Christian revolutionary writer and artist Kahlil Gibran, that "Your neighbor is your other self dwelling behind a wall. In understanding, all walls shall fall down."

This is my eighth year living in Cairo, where I serve as the Rector of St. John's Church, an international Episcopal church that serves the diplomatic, NGO, academic, and business communities. Having ...

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Behind Egypt's Revolution
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