Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Local Egyptians Worry for Homeland

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Local Egyptians Worry for Homeland

Article excerpt

Egyptian-Americans in North Jersey who hailed the downfall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak 16 months ago are worried that chaos will descend on their native country again now that its top court has dissolved parliament and upheld the right of Mubarak's former prime minister to run for president.

Amr Ibrahim, who works at an accounting firm in Clifton, said he feared that fighting would spill into the streets amid a showdown between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, which backs the ex-prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.

"I think it's going to be the same as last year. That's what I'm afraid of," Ibrahim said.

Mohamed Younes of Franklin Lakes had the same concerns, saying, "Young people are not going to take this easy."

"The problem is the fighting among [the political groups]. I don't want to see another Syria," said Younes, president of the American Muslim Union, referring to the violence that has besieged that Arabic-speaking country.

Although both men were shaken by the uncertainty in Egypt, they offered different political viewpoints on recent events. Among Egyptian-Americans, some fear an Islamist takeover of government that will lead to religious law. Others say the threat of extremism is overblown and the real threat is an attempt by Mubarak's old regime to seize back the power that Egyptians fought so hard to get.

Younes said he feared that Shafiq's election would lead to the same repressive rule for which Mubarak was known. Younes said he is suspicious of the political motivation behind the court rulings -- a reflection of the belief that Mubarak's old guard is trying to push out the Muslim Brotherhood and take power.

"I think he [Shafiq] will be worse than Mubarak because he has seen what has happened to him [Mubarak] and will not repeat it," Younes said.

Mixed reactions

Some Muslim Brotherhood leaders said the decision to overturn the democratically elected parliament amounted to a coup by the military.

Others, like Ibrahim, said they're glad action is being taken to counter a rise of power by Islamists that could send Egypt into another kind of repressive rule. …

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