One of the major surprises for me after returning from twelve months in Iraq was the anti-Moslem bias in my country. Now, five years later, I suppose that is to be expected. Very few Americans know any Moslems. And, of course, we are all very faimiliar with the eighteen murderous Moslems that attacked us on 9/11. I served with some remarkable persons in Iraq who happened to be Moslem. So, my perception is now different. I flinch when I hear anti-Moselm rhetoric. Moslem jokes are not funny to me. And, I have disputed with several of my fellow citizens that Moslems are anymore violent than anyone else.
No, I have not read the Koran. I have been told that the Koran teaches Moslems to be violent. A devout Christian friend has read the Koran in Arabic and says different. Whatever. As I have mentioned here before, I knew some wonderful persons in Iraq who happened to be Moslem. In fact, we could not prosecute these two wars without some very brave and very decent Iraqis and Afghanis who happen to be Moslem.
Egyptian society is roiling and turning. Egypt has had a visible Christian minority for the last couple thousand years. They have existed in uncertain peace with their Moslem neighbors. With the current revolutionary fervor, one would expect religious strife. One Christian church was burned when a romance between a Moslem girl and a Christian boy was discovered. The boy and the girl were seen together. The village elders decided the girl must die. Her father refused. Extremists killed him and strife began. At some point, the extremists believed the boy was in a Christian church called Soul. The Moslem extremists burned down the church.
Christians had been protesting already. They protested more when this one church was burned. One or two leading Moslem clerics supported the Christians and denounced the church burning. The Egyptian Army promised to rebuild the church. Moslems came to the Christian protests to say they supported the Christians.
At a memorial service, a Coptic Christian priest said the Muslims and Christians are brothers. See NPR news report. The priest himself stopped a Christian from seeking revenge at a prior protest. Moslems cannot be categorized anymore than Christians can be.