News / Middle East

Homeland Conflict Riles NYC's 'Little Egypt' from Afar

The mosque in Queens New York's Little Egypt neighborhood overflows for Friday prayers, Aug. 16, 2013. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
The mosque in Queens New York's Little Egypt neighborhood overflows for Friday prayers, Aug. 16, 2013. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
Adam Phillips
The Astoria neighborhood in Queens, New York, is home to thousands of Egyptian Americans and other groups.  

Friday is the holiest day in the Muslim week, and many residents of the Little Egypt neighborhood of Astoria Queens took the day off to try to relax from the work week.  For some, that meant more time at a crowded local mosque, where they listened to sermons.

The bloodshed in Egypt weighed heavily on the minds of many people.  This past week, the Egyptian army stormed sit-ins by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing hundreds of protesters and wounding thousands. 

A man, who had just come from prayer, described the coup and the violence as inhuman.  “… when you play inhuman, disaster happens!” he said.

Mohamed, a Yemeni-American who works in a store across the street, agreed.

“First they elected Morsi, right?  Now they don’t want him anymore.  They just want to do what they want.  So they fight over it.  But thousands of people get killed every day.  Like what I just saw on al-Jazeera.  And when I just logged into Facebook, I saw these pictures of Egyptians dead on the street.  It’s sad.  What can I do about it?  Little children who want a future and all that.  They are dead.  It’s not good,” said Mohamed.

Inside a traditional Muslim clothing shop, a young Turkish woman named Emel said that ousting President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was a setback for democracy.

“It seems pretty sad that people have to fight continuously when they could unite. I feel like if you vote for someone you kind of have to stick with it.  He should have done his period of time, then they should just re-elect someone,“ she said.

She particularly abhored the recent violence by the Egyptian Army.

“I don’t think they should be going and just killing people at random," said Emel.  "That’s what is leading people to use their own weapons against them, and it’s going to create an inner civil war. No army should be coming in and killing.  This is happening right now in Egypt.  But it happens in almost every country.  The army, when they get the power, they take advantage…”

  • Armed Egyptian policeman moves into position in front of al-Fath mosque on Ramses Square in Cairo, August 17, 2013.
  • Policemen stand guard inside a room of the al-Fath mosque when supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi exchanged gunfire with security forces inside the mosque in Cairo, Aug.t 17, 2013
  • Anti-Mursi protesters and riot police officers gather outside al-Fath mosque at Ramses Square in Cairo, August 17, 2013.
  • A police officer takes position during clashes with supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi inside a room of al-Fath mosque in Cairo, August 17, 2013.
  • A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shouts slogans after he is injured in front Azbkya police station during clashes at Ramses Square, Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Egyptians lay on the ground after being injured during clashes between security forces and supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Ramses Square, Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gather in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shouts slogans during a protest outside Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square, Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans and wave Egyptian flags during a protest outside Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square, in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi carry a coffin, covered with a national flag, of a protester who was killed during Wednesday' clashes in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi take part in a protest near Ennour Mosque, Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • A soldier holds his weapon as he stands on an armored personnel carrier positioned outside the state-run television station in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Egyptian army soldiers take their positions at an entrance to Tahrir Square, Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • A man who lost relatives in recent violence stands near a list of names of dead members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at El Eyman mosque in Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • A man walks through debris from what is left of burned vehicles outside the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, Cairo, August 16, 2013.
  • Abandoned shoes and a tea glass, belonging to supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, remain on a wall outside the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, Cairo, August 16, 2013.

In a café down the street where men played backgammon and smoked water pipes beneath a television showing Egyptian news coverage, a patron named Mustafa asserted that the Army acted properly.  He flatly denied Western media reports that Morsi supporters were demonstrating peaceably when the attack came.   

"They carry a machine gun and you tell me a peaceful demonstration," said Mustafa. "They are no good.  Who blew up the World Trade Center?  The Islamic fanatics! 

At a nearby table, a man named Nash said his community suffered directly from the Muslim Brotherhood while they were in power.     

“They attack churches.  I am a Coptic.  I am a Christian," he said.  "They attack churches.  They kill everybody.  They don’t care about Muslim or Christian.  They don’t care about religion.  Religion means peace and love.  They don’t have no peace.  They don’t have no love.  What can I say more than that?  And God bless America, God bless Egypt and save the people over there, our families and our friends.  It’s a black time for Egypt.”

It is an open question as to whether the chaos and violence in Egypt will subside.  One 10-year-old boy, whose uncle’s store back in Egypt has been robbed and looted by both sides in the conflict, put his wishes simply like this: “Stop the fighting.  Stop the killing.  Just be nice.”

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid