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Expats' horror over violence

Egyptian expatriates speak out over ongoing troubles in their home country.

DUBAI // Egyptians in the UAE have told of their horror at the violence gripping their home country.

"I am not a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and I think what they have done to the country is terrible," said Ahmed Kiwan, who has lived in the UAE for 30 years.

The 61-year-old engineer, now in Abu Dhabi, said the situation had left him heartbroken.

"What the Muslim Brotherhood are doing is acting like thugs and they are causing so many problems," he said. "My brother and sister and her family live in Alexandria and they are worried about what is going on there.

"My brother requires weekly hospital treatment for kidney failure and a journey that used to only take 25 minutes by car is now three and a half hours because of all the disruptions."

Mr Kiwan, who last visited Egypt in February, blames the Brotherhood for causing divisions between the different religious communities in the country.

"It's too dangerous to go back there now," he said.

Peter Hussain, 30, a Coptic Christian, said most of his friends and family had left Egypt because they felt it was becoming too unstable.

"I have mixed feelings about seeing all the violence but I'm not surprised by it," said Mr Hussain, who works in business development in Dubai.

"The Muslim Brotherhood don't want to negotiate," added Mr Hussain, who has lived in the UAE for more than 20 years. "It's either their way or no way.

"It took them 80 years to get in power and they don't want to give it up now."

He said the Brotherhood's loyalties lay with their own, and not with Egypt.

Sherif Ibrahim, 31, a Muslim Egyptian who has lived in Dubai for five years, said the overthrowing of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, was a mistake.

He believes the current situation in the country is being made worse by foreign interference from the United States and some European countries.

"These countries want Egypt to be weak, which is why they have been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood," Mr Ibrahim said.

"People wanted democracy but that hasn't happened with the Brotherhood.

"They tried to change the constitution and their economic policies have caused a lot of problems for the country."

The Muslim Brotherhood wanted to impose religious rule in Egypt, which most people were opposed to, he said.

Mariam Fahmi, also from Egypt, said many of her compatriots had developed sympathies for the Muslim Brotherhood after the organisation suffered decades of suppression during Mubarak's regime.

"The reality though, [was that] the Muslim Brotherhood were kings in prison," she said. "They received the best treatment and have always had authority."

She now feels helpless after seeing the violence.

"I've had news of people I know dying and its heartbreaking."

Ms Fahmi was in Egypt during the uprising and collected medical and logistical supplies for protesters in Tahrir Square.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood had been responsible for much of the violence, the Egyptian Army were also been guilty of killings, including those of pro-democracy activists, she added.

nhanif@thenational.ae

ksinclair@thenational.ae

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