Massachusetts Town Becomes Refuge for Egyptian Christians
A small Massachusetts town has become a growing refuge for Egyptian Christians fleeing persecution in their homeland.
Milford, located approximately 40 miles from Boston, has been drawing increasing numbers of Christians from Egypt, bolstering an existing community of Egyptians who settled in the area in the 1980s and founded St. Mark’s Church in nearby Natick, Mass.
“Milford is one of the most famous cities that has a lot of Egyptians,” Maged Saad told the Boston Globe. “It is just by luck. We have no experience in USA, but we just asked one friend. He is here also.”
As a result, a new church service began in January called the El-Horya (Freedom) Meeting, a satellite service of the Arabic Evangelical Baptist Church of West Roxbury in Boston, which attracted 40-50 local Egyptians.
“Every few weeks we see a new family coming over,” Michael Habib, 32, one of the three men organizing the services, told the Boston Globe. “That’s why we built a good community in Milford.”
Since the 2011 “Arab Spring” revolution that overthrew long-time secular Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Christians in Egypt have come under increasing attacks from Islamic extremists. The new Muslim Brotherhood-led Islamist government has done little to curb the violence amid social and economic decay.
While there are no exact numbers on how many Christians have fled Egypt in recent years, a January 2013 report on Coptic Christians in the U.S. by National Public Radio cited research estimating that 100,000 Coptic Christians have immigrated to the U.S. since the revolution, joining an existing community of 350,000.