It was a recently formed human rights group from the Coptic Orthodox (Egyptian) Church in Tripoli, working to protect blacks from the still lawless Tripoli streets that enabled my roommate to depart this hotel. The Coptic Church, according to their Prelate here, has the largest Christian communion in Libya with normally 60,000 parishioners and has roots in Libya going back hundreds of years before the Arabs spread westward from Egypt.
Mohammad departed none too soon since "security personnel" arrived at the Corinthia Hotel close to 1 p.m. this afternoon (8/28/11) with gunmen and two "Generals"in fine new uniforms complete with epaulets. Their surprise visit was to check the hotel rooms for Kaddafi supporters. They claimed they had received "reports."
The Copts did a good job in getting Mohammad to safety. Most observers here agree that for the immediate future there will be a whirlwind of wild speculation, accusations and even some serious examination of Moammar Kaddafi's leadership of Libya these past four decades. One fact however is incontrovertible to this observer and it is that under Kaddafi, Christians, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, the main Christian sects here, have been well treated and allowed virtually complete freedom to practice their beliefs and to celebrate their traditions with some restrictions placed on campaigns to proselytize Muslims of which they have not been any since the Mormons and the "Way of the Cross" evangelicals left some years back.
Most of the churches here currently have volunteers working to help their Muslim sisters and brothers during this cataclysmic period. My friend Mohammad is one whose life they may have saved.
Mohammad and I have been secretly sharing my room for more than a week since I accidently discovered him hiding and trembling in the hotel's garden bushes shortly after the rebel entrance into Tripoli. It was easy to calm Mohammad down and I brought him a shirt from my room, as his was filthy.
James Earl Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman
(1943-1963) (1939-1963) (1943-1963) http://www.core-online.org/history/chaney.htm