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Egyptians Living In South Florida React To Unrest

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(Source: Gio Benitez, CBS4)

(Source: Gio Benitez, CBS4)

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PLANTATION (CBS4) – The fight for freedom across Egypt is being watched very closely here by South Florida’s Egyptian community.

“He’s been taken this country like a hostage,” said Usama Almagarby.

Almagarby moved to South Florida from Alexandria, Egypt to get away from president Hosni Mubarak.  He calls the longtime leader a dictator who must be stopped.

“It’s like a Fidel Castro in Cuba,” complained Almagarby.  “It’s never going to stop.  And he wants to give this country to his children.”

Almagarby’s been glued to the television just like many of his friends, supporting those who have taken their fight to the street.

“It’s a fight for freedom,” said Usama Elabiady.  “it’s a fight for change.”

Usama Elabiady grew up in Cairo and left 22 years ago – also to get away from Mubarak.  He’s sad and afraid as he watches those at home protecting their country and themselves.

“He emptied the jails, he told the police to stop, not exist,” said Elabiady.  “So Egyptians now are the ones securing their own streets, their own homes, their own businesses.”

Both men here in South Florida are hoping that as the fight goes on in Cairo – they’ll also hear from Washington.

“We see Egypt having freedom again,” said Elabiady.  “we hope to see the hand of the United States helping us get this freedom back. “

Some are worried that Islamic fundamentalists will try to grab power.  Experts say the chances of that happening are slim.  Nova Southeastern University political scientist Dr. Dustin Berna is an expert on fundamentalism and terrorism.  He’s been watching Egypt closely.  What makes the population there different from many places is the level of education.  Many of the fighters on the street are college grads with dreams of more.

“You have tens of thousands of educated youth that have read books about American democracy and European democracy,” said Dr. Berna.  “They want to know why don’t we have democracy?  Why can’t we pick our leaders? “

Right now, Berna says the only Muslim group involved in the fight is the “Islamic Muslim Brotherhood”,  he says they are not likely to gain power and even if they did, they do not operate like a radical group.

“They believe in absolute freedom of the press.  They believe in freedom of education they believe in elections and peaceful transition of power to different ideologies. We don’t have to worry about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.”

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