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Coptic Christian Immigrant in NYC Fears for Future of Family Back in Egypt

ICC Note:

“The Muslim Brotherhood is the Coptic community’s greatest fear. The most well-organized opposition group in Egypt, the Brotherhood has the support of some 20 percent of the population,” Fox News reports.

By Lauren Green

2/24/2011 Egypt (Fox News) – As a child in Egypt coming home from Sunday school, Khairy Gurgis remembers being taunted with verbal slurs, slapped or pelted with stones by Muslim kids. His crime: being a Christian.

He also recalls vandals painting a big, red cross on the sides of his uncle’s and neighbor’s house identifying them as the only two Christian families in the neighborhood.

Incidents like these were just a part of life growing up as a Coptic Christian. But it never caused Gurgis or his family to question their faith.

“In Egypt they accept whatever happens… saying, ‘God allows it to happen.’ It’s a different understanding of faith,” Gurgis said in an interview with Fox News.

Now 67 years old and a U.S. citizen, Gurgis operates a kiosk on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, selling seasonal accessories like hats, gloves and scarves. He fled his homeland 30 years ago after being arrested for what he says was standing up for his faith. But his extended family — parents, uncles, aunts, brother and sister — remain in Cairo.

Gurgis fears what may come next in Egypt: His first red flag? The return of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been banned for 30 years.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the Coptic community’s greatest fear. The most well-organized opposition group in Egypt, the Brotherhood has the support of some 20 percent of the population. It has a strong infrastructure, a kind of government within a government.

Of particular concern to Egypt’s Christians is the Brotherhood’s desire to adopt Shariah law as Egyptian law, which they fear would turn Gurgis’ childhood taunts into legal retribution.

Despite the gathering storm, Gurgis said his family’s faith has actually strengthened. The tempests have not stopped his mother from keeping active in her church working with orphans and the less fortunate.“They feel more safe, more protected in the Lord.”

[Full Story]