Christians In Egypt Participate In Preparing Iftar For Their Muslim Neighbours

North Africa

Love and respect between Muslims and Coptic Christians is the norm in Shobra, one of Cairo's most populous districts. Here, Copts have participated in preparing Iftar during Ramadan for almost three decades.

In the populated neighbourhood of Shobra in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Muslims and Christians are displaying their unity and cooperation by preparing meals for citizens breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

Jamil Banayotti, a Coptic Christian man in Shobra, says that he has been preparing iftar meals for Muslims in the neighbourhood for 37 years.

“We do not distinguish between Christians and Muslims; we are all Egyptians. This dining table is for all Egyptians of all sects and religions,” said Jamil. “Since my retirement, I have become fully dedicated to being here with the people of the neighbourhood.”

The participants in this campaign say that all of the work that they do is voluntary and encompasses individuals from all religious affiliations. They say that what started as an individual project that seeks to show their coexistence has now become a community project to help the poor as well.

“Those fasting and not fasting, Muslims and Christians, come and eat,” said Yusri Khafaja, a resident of Shobra. “The remaining food used to be thrown, so we decided to take advantage of it and distribute it to the needy.”

While the country has been facing economic difficulties due to the price rise on many daily items, this has not stopped the citizens from helping and serving those in need of daily meals during Ramadan.

“This voluntary work is for God,” said Yusri Khafaja, a student volunteering in the initiative. “We come to strengthen our relationship and love.”

Despite attempts by ISIS and other militant groups to splinter Egyptian society on religious lines, Egyptians have exhibited religious coexistence and tolerance on many occasions.

While tensions sometimes occur in the country due to a small number of extremist individuals, the community at large has shown both resilience and unity against division.