“Only President is Morsi" - Morsi Supporters Rally in Chicago

Fisal Hammouda, who left Egypt in the 1960s and now lives in Lisle, helped organize Sunday's rally and led chants of "Only president is Morsi."


They must have had a hard time choosing between Morsi and Obama. But finally they made the right choice.

Fisal Hammouda, who left Egypt in the 1960s and now lives in Lisle, helped organize Sunday's rally and led chants of "Only president is Morsi." Hammouda said the U.S. government risks losing credibility if it fails to condemn the military takeover and push for Morsi's return to office.

"God willing, he is going to be reinstated, because this was the will of the people and this was the first-ever fair election that happened in the history of Egypt," Hammouda said. "The United States always says, 'We are for democracy.' This is a fair election."

As fair as any Chicago election anyway.

About a year ago, Wael Elfeqy waited in a long line to cast his ballot for Egypt's first democratically elected president. His candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won the election but was removed from office and jailed last week when the military seized power.

"We were so proud," said Elfeqy, a physical therapist from southwest suburban Justice who travels frequently to Egypt, where he was born. "We were so proud of our democracy, and these guys stole it from us."

Wael doesn't even seem to live in Egypt. And other pro-Morsi protesters aren't even from Egypt.

"I'm very, very afraid that the violence started in Egypt will affect everyone," said Alex Alomary, a Jordanian software engineer living in northwest suburban Harwood Heights.

Somehow I suspect he was less worried before Morsi was forced out.

Rally organizer Ahmed Taha, of from Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, said the purpose of the rally was to draw attention to the fact that Morsi was democratically elected and should remain in office until he is voted out.

Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights only exists as a Facebook group. Ahmed Taha is hopefully not the terrorist of the same name from the Egyptian Islamic Group.

But Taha doesn't represent all Egyptians in Chicago.

Egyptian-American Cherif Bassiouni, professor emeritus at DePaul University, said there was no other choice for the people of Egypt than to overthrow Morsi’s theocratic government.

“There was no way for anything else to occur because there is no way to impeach under the new constitution [which was forced on Egyptians] and so it was necessary for the army to intervene, less the country was going to completely fall into social, political and economic chaos,” Bassiouni said.

For native Egyptian Akram Madbouli, the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi means the possibility of a better life for his three sisters and their children.

Madbouli has lived in Chicago for 23 years, but speaks to his family in Egypt daily on the phone. For the past year, he’s heard more stories of worry than joy: “Their lives have been very hard,” Madbouli, 49, said Friday at the Alibaba Hookah Cafe, a popular Egyptian hangout in Albany Park.

But after’s Wednesday’s military coup, Madbouli and his family began to hope again.

The rebuilding of Egypt means creating peace among all people in the country, he says, including the Muslim extremists who supported the presidency: “We have to support and understand the extremists. They are Egyptians, and we have to understand where they come from and we are trying now to take them as part of our society.”

Good luck with that.

Tags: egypt