(JNS.org) 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