Prayer service dedicated to the Egyptian people

FRESNO, California

Muslim communities all over the United States have declared Friday "Freedom Friday." Prayer services will be dedicated to the Egyptian people.

The goal is to help to bring an end to the violence, and that's something Egyptians all over the valley are praying for.

Images showing violence and despair right in the heart of Cairo have been on the minds of Valley residents for the past ten days.

"It's time for a change, yeah."

Gamal Awad owns the Mediterranean Grill in Hanford. He grew up in Egypt, and has several family members still living there. Awad says political corruption in his native country is nothing new. But, these types of demonstrations are. "People are still on the streets. They're asking for the right, asking him to step down, and no one listened to them. I don't know what's going to happen next."

Mohamed Yousef shares that same sense of uncertainty. The retired Fresno State engineering professor also grew up in Egypt, and now has dual citizenship. His main concern is for the safety of his family. His nephew was nearly attacked, while working in a hospital just a few miles from Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

Yousef said, "The hospital was surrounded by looters and what have you. They tried to steal his car, and what have you and he had to run for his life."

With no end in sight, communities worldwide have offered their support for the Egyptian people. On Friday, Muslims at the Islamic Cultural Center in Northeast Fresno will pray for safety and peace.

Kamal Abu-Shamsieh said, "Egypt has been a rich country in its heritage, religion, and culture and we are saddened by the deterioration of the situation in Egypt."

The prayer service at the Islamic Cultural Center starts at 12:30 Friday afternoon.

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