ICC Note: As the world hears the news of hundreds of thousands migrating from the Middle East to find refuge in Europe, we often do not fully grasp what would cause them to leave their homes behind. Mina, a 25-year-old Christian from Egypt appreciates the safety he has found, but what he left behind is a homeland where he was stabbed because he was a Christian. These kinds of realities are what have forced many to make the heart-wrenching choice of leaving behind all they once knew.
11/03/2015 Egypt (DW) – Mina, 25, looks at the colorful image hanging on the wall. It shows Joseph and Mary crossing through Egypt while she holds baby Jesus in her arms: It’s a peaceful scene. Eight crosses also decorate his refugee room in Bonn.
“I feel safe here,” says Mina. “When I am sad and miss my home, I pray – and that comforts me.”
Just in front of the brightly colored picture, the young man placed a little book* – his piece of hope. Along with it are two stuffed animals and another cross. It is his prayer alter, his place of worship. Mina is a Coptic Christian and is very religious. He does not want to be recognized on the picture for this article: There are also radical Islamists in Bonn, where his accommodation center is.
A knife in the stomach
Mina is afraid of being attacked again by a religious extremist. He will never forget the horrible experience he had seven years ago: The Coptic community in Port Said was about to baptize an adult Muslim woman who wanted to become Christian. A screaming mob stormed the church. The young woman was kidnapped. They stabbed Mina in the abdomen. He pulls up his t-shirt with difficulty to show the scar: It is as long as his forearm.
“Not all Muslims are bad people,” he says, “just the religious fanatics.”
In Mina’s home town, it became impossible to go to church during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. Women could no longer go out with a headscarf. “They mistreated us every day.” Mina had graduated from high school and worked as a photographer and in restaurants. Two years ago, he decided to flee. “I couldn’t take it anymore,” he says.