Ever since the bombing of the Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year’s Eve that killed 23 and injured over 80 other people every other Coptic person I know around me and across oceans has been on edge. I particularly have been on edge since I have a good chunk of family that lives in Egypt who are also parishioners at the church that was bombed.

The week that commenced from January 1, 2011 leading into today, January 7th was filled with meetings on security, meetings on mobilization, meetings on memorials, meetings that poured into meetings and debates, countless debates on the best way for a people who have never had a voice in the past to now voice their need for equality and peace. The Coptic Church has existed in Egypt for what reads in my mind as nearly eternity without making so much as a peep on the radar of the world. Quiet and steadfast in the face of wave after wave of persecution from different groups, she has been ever-peaceful, ever-strong, and dare I say, ever-defiant in the face of those who wished to burn her presence away from the face of the earth. In the face of ages of violence, she has never cried out in rage against her assailants, confident that her King would protect her.

When that bomb ripped through the church in Alexandria shortly after midnight on January 1st, the slumbering world turned and looked for the very first time at the Coptic Church in wonder as her beautiful face was mutilated and her clothes were torn and blood-stained. And then they stuck a microphone in her face asking her to speak out, cry out, scream out against her heartless aggressors. But royalty always takes the high-road.

Yesterday I and every Coptic Christian I know went to Christmas Eve services surrounded by bomb-sniffing dogs, helicopters sweeping the perimeter, and walls of police officers because of public threats made by extremists against the Coptic Churches across the world, not just Egypt. And so the normal, Christmas Eve celebration was transformed into a life-risking experience. If I, nestled here in the Land of Freedom, felt this way, how must the Copts in Egypt feel on a daily basis in a country where simply being yourself means that you risk your life on a daily basis?

And so in the aftermath of the explosion heard round the world, I would say to anyone reading this, now that you have heard, raise your voice against hatred and intolerance around the world. Do not allow this history of violence to continue. Raise your voice and effect change because you can while so many others cannot. Raise your voice and change the world because if you do not, then you are simply aiding the virus of hatred spread.

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