An Egyptian Christian man who teaches children the Quran has won the love of people across the Arab world and beyond, after his story was shared by a number of news outlets.
Charging a nominal amount, Ayad Shaker Hanna has been helping the Muslim kids in his village of Akoris to memorize the Quran for decades, according to Al Jazeera.
The eighty-year-old has a small classroom in his home for the teaching of a variety of skills, including reading and writing. He was reportedly the very first person to learn to read in Akoris, part of the Minya governorate of Upper Egypt.
“We don’t differentiate between Muslim and Christians. Christians follow Christ and Muslims follow the Prophet Muhammad,” he says.
“But when it comes to neighborhood and giving and receiving and needs… That’s the love we’ve shared in this village for a long time.”
Ayad has suggested that he feels close to God when reading the Quran, which he learned at school, as it contains messages of love and mercy.
His actions have been widely praised by individuals from far and wide on social media:
How many Christian teachers and students have studied Islam with us without knee-jerk bigotry, and particularly in law school we studied Sharia, the origins of Islamic jurisprudence and inheritence. The Christians were really accomplished at it. It is good that we learn good morals from them and they learn good morals from us. We are all servants of God.
This heartwarming account of many years of strong interfaith relations in Egypt comes only a week after the country’s Islamic legal body issued a fatwa allowing friendships between Muslims and non-Muslims. Ayad is yet more proof, if it was needed, that Muslim-Christian cooperation in the Arab nation is alive and kicking.