This article was first posted on Christianity Today on July 19, 2012.
Alexandria, Egypt, was once a lighthouse for Christianity, emanating from the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Now it is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more conservative Salafi Muslims.
So a Christian opening a cultural center for Muslim and Christian artists in Alexandria—within the walls of an Anglican church—demonstrates a stroke of boldness in a city where some 23 Coptic Christians were killed in a church bombing on New Year’s Day 2011.
“For many Muslims,” says Nader Wanis, founder of the Corners for Creativity cultural center, “it was the first time in their life they [had] entered a church. They were astounded we let them in; then they go and invite others.”
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This article was very fun to research and write; it was a nice break from politics and the challenge of understanding what is happening in Egypt.
‘This is Our City’ is a new feature of Christianity Today, highlighting Christians who are working not just for the good of their church or the good of their faith, but the good of the whole city. It focuses on six American locales – Portland, Richmond, Detroit, New York, Phoenix, and Palo Alto – and then a ‘7th City’ which can draw on good examples from anywhere.
So when I heard about this particular cultural center in Alexandria, I inquired if Christianity Today was interested in highlighting an international effort.
They were. Bangkok, Thailand was first to the pole, but I am glad to help Egypt get the silver medal.
- Reflecting on the Papal Shrines (one of which inters the Alexandria martyrs) – April 1, 2012
- Remembering Alexandria – December 31, 2011
- Christian Responses to Alexandria: Irony, Violence, and Love – January 4, 2011
- Reflections on the New Year’s Eve Massacre in Alexandria – January 1, 2011