After her initiative to clean a church with the help of her Muslim girl students was met with a lot of praise, the teacher Eng. Heba Saad Hashash revealed the details and motivation for her action.
In an interview with Al-Arabiya.net, the teacher disclosed that she had cleaned the church, despite objections from some people, in order to promote a loving and tolerant homeland where she and her daughters could feel safe, in addition to her other 2,400 students in the city of Mallawi in Minya in southern Egypt, whom she considers her children as well.
She added that she did it for her country and for her fellow Copts who live in the city and who were under difficult and harsh circumstances following the recent terrorist incident on the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, which resulted in the deaths of seven people.
Heba Hashash noted that it was her duty as an educator, teacher and school director, to set a good example of peace and coexistence between religions and to educate this generation and the future ones that for one to be a good Muslim he needs to believe in Allah, his prophets and their messages, in accordance with the words of God Almighty.
“The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers.
“We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.”
And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”
Heba Hashash said that she brought together a group of 15 students, all of whom received the approval of their families, and went to the church.
She herself cleaned the church with a broom as did her students. They also cleaned the library and every inch of the church. She stated that she was surprised that the images taken by some have been widely shared on social media sites.
Heba Hashash said that she had received praise from the Muslims and Copts of the city for what she had done, revealing her happiness and stressing that the feelings of love and affection between Muslims and Copts in Egypt are real and deep, not just a slogan expressed only in front of the media.
She said that she believed in her initiative because it was the embodiment of the real religion and a reflection of her feelings as well as the feelings of all the residents of the city who suffered from the destruction and burning of houses of worship after the revolution of June 2013, adding that she will seek to develop such actions in the hearts of her students because they will be mothers in the future and they ought to raise and nurture the next generation based on love and tolerance.
Social media sites in Egypt praised the photos of Muslim girls cleaning the church in Mallawi. The initiative received praise which expressed the spirit of love, tolerance and unity between Muslims and Copts in Egypt.
Egyptians welcomed the initiative, stressing that the most prominent feature of it was that it emerged from the heart of Minya province, which recently witnessed a terror attack targeting the Copts during their visit to the monastery of Samuel the confessor, killing seven people.
The city of Mallawi was the theatre of many attacks orchestrated by the Brotherhood and its members after the outbreak of the June 30 revolution of 2013 and the overthrow of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi.
The comments on the images and the initiative were positive, constructive and supportive, stressing that the Muslims of Egypt and Copts are one fabric and one people that cannot be divided or exploited to cause strife and sectarian divisions and disrupt the stability of the country.