Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Veiling the Faith
The veils have been up since Sunday, this is a picture from last year: I was going to write something quite different about veils and then a lady came to my door to tell me she has just fled from her home in Cairo and had moved here with her children, so this is quite different than what I had intended.
She had lived in block of flats, on her floor was sheikh and his three wives, he harangued her about not having her face covered, especially when she passed his door. The next day his wives came to visit and told her that she should be veiled and covered, and then finally that she should convert to Islam. She explained that as much as she respected Islam she could not renounce her Christian faith. They told her to think about it, the next day they returned and told her she must convert, if she didn't some of the young men in the block would kidnap her children and they would throw acid in her face, as this had happened to other Christian women.
She fled immediately to another part of Cairo, when she saw the women outside of her children's school she took them out of school. They sent messages through other Christians that would track her down and carry out their threats, as she had insulted Islam simply by rejecting it.
From what I know there has always been a degree of tension between Christians and Moslems in Egypt, the problem is now that it has been ratched up. I asked her if the police would have done anything, she said, "Yes, they would have trumped up some charge against her and given her whereabouts to the people who were threatening her, we Christians no longer have the protection of the law".
She might have been a little neurotic, Christians from Egypt that I meet tend to be both neurotic and frightened, they are expected to veil their faith, to take down crosses from their churches, homes and businesses and to hide any signs of their faith and for the women to veil their faces. The veils for me symbolise solidarity with those who have to hide their faith.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Islamic countries especially in Syria and Egypt, and for the refugees in my parish.
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