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“The discrimination in Egypt is high, and it’s based on race and religion,” Mirna Hanna told AP. “We came from a Christian background, which is rare in Egypt, and as women, we were also discriminated against because of our gender. Justice was not there, and as an older woman, it just wasn’t a decent life for her.”
3/1/2012 Egypt (AP) – Odette Salib knows what the hunger for freedom feels like. A native of Egypt, the 79-year-old Decatur resident faced discrimination and persecution in her home country, not only due to her religion, but also her gender.
Less than 10 years ago, however, she made a decision that changed her life: She decided to immigrate to the United States, not only to be with her daughter and son-in-law, Mirna and Dr. Adel Hanna, and with her three granddaughters, but also to pursue a life she had never been able to have in Egypt.
“She had been coming here to visit us,” Mirna said of her mother. “But she always felt like she had to go back (to Egypt).”
During one of her visits to Decatur, though, Odette’s mindset changed.
“I knew I couldn’t go back because of the situation in Egypt,” said Odette, noting that she asked Mirna and Adel to get a refund for her return plane ticket.
“The discrimination in Egypt is high, and it’s based on race and religion,” Mirna added. “We came from a Christian background, which is rare in Egypt, and as women, we were also discriminated against because of our gender. Justice was not there, and as an older woman, it just wasn’t a decent life for her.”

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