Religious tolerance in old Egypt

Anis Mansour, a famous Egyptian writer, has published a memoir about growing up in an Egypt that seems long gone: one where religious tolerance was the order of the day:

There wasn't a day in my life that I did not utter the names Jirjis, Hanna, Cohen, Levy, Jacques, Marianne, Violet, and Arlette. These were the names of my friends from school, or of my neighbors. We all played together in the street, met at the public library, or got together in the shop of Mr. Cohen, who sold shoe polish, pins, and matches. We helped our friend look after the shop when his father was away, and we [helped] our friend Jirjis and his father, the tailor, who [likewise] used to leave us [in charge of] the shop. We served the customers who wanted their clothes pressed, and cleaned the premises.

"We never wondered why [we should do this]. My father and mother did not disapprove when they heard about it. My mother regarded it as a proper and moral [act] that reflected brotherhood and friendship. She also visited the Christian and Jewish women, and they visited her.

MEMRI has translated the article from Arabic language newspaper Al—Sharq Al—Awsat, published in London.

Anis Mansour, a famous Egyptian writer, has published a memoir about growing up in an Egypt that seems long gone: one where religious tolerance was the order of the day:

There wasn't a day in my life that I did not utter the names Jirjis, Hanna, Cohen, Levy, Jacques, Marianne, Violet, and Arlette. These were the names of my friends from school, or of my neighbors. We all played together in the street, met at the public library, or got together in the shop of Mr. Cohen, who sold shoe polish, pins, and matches. We helped our friend look after the shop when his father was away, and we [helped] our friend Jirjis and his father, the tailor, who [likewise] used to leave us [in charge of] the shop. We served the customers who wanted their clothes pressed, and cleaned the premises.

"We never wondered why [we should do this]. My father and mother did not disapprove when they heard about it. My mother regarded it as a proper and moral [act] that reflected brotherhood and friendship. She also visited the Christian and Jewish women, and they visited her.

MEMRI has translated the article from Arabic language newspaper Al—Sharq Al—Awsat, published in London.