How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

As many Egyptian Angelenos rally for reforms, others are hesitant

Ezabelle Attallah, a member of the mostly Egyptian-immigrant Holy Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in northeast Los Angeles.
Ezabelle Attallah, a member of the mostly Egyptian-immigrant Holy Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in northeast Los Angeles. Photo by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

For a second weekend in a row, Egyptian Americans in Los Angeles joined protesters in other U.S. cities to rally in solidarity with protesters in Egypt demanding that president Hosni Mubarak step down.

USC's Neon Tommy posted a slide show of photos from Saturday's rally outside the federal building in West Los Angeles, which drew hundreds. Another crowd gathered Sunday outside the Egyptian Consulate (video of the rally, above, via

Those attending the local rallies are calling for democratic reforms in Egypt and the end of three decades of rule by Mubarak, a close ally of the United States who in his country is considered a tyrant by many. But one group of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Los Angeles is saying not so fast, fearful that a sudden overturning of Mubarak's government might bring about changes that could put the country's Christian minority at risk.

KPCC's Adolfo Guzman Lopez visited the Egyptian immigrant members of Holy Virgin Mary Church in Highland Park, where about 500 families attend services in Arabic and English.

From the story:

Odette Morcos drove from Glendale for the 6:30 Sunday morning service. Like others here, she’s been glued to her TV set watching the turmoil in her homeland. President Hosni Mubarak should leave, she says, but not immediately, as many back home demand.

"I want Hosni Mubarak to stay for the next eight months until fix everything," said Morcos.

Morcos and other members of this parish are worried that without Mubarak, there will be chaos that will benefit Muslim extremists. Last month a suicide bomber killed 21 people outside a Christian church in Alexandria.

The unrest in Egypt is entering its third week. Close to a dozen people have reportedly been killed so far, according to the country's health ministry, and nearly a thousand have been injured.

UPDATE: U.S.-based Human Rights Watch says at least 297 people have been killed since Egypt's anti-government uprising began two weeks ago, with many deaths outside Cairo as violence has spread. CNN cited a much lower government figure a few days ago.

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