Dozens of Coptic Christians from Egypt spent Monday afternoon in downtown Nashville waving flags and chanting “pray for Egypt.” They’re part of growing protests in the U.S. condemning the burning of churches in Egypt.
Angel Girgis is one of an estimated 12,000 Egyptians in the Nashville area. She moved from Cairo eight years ago and says it’s difficult to watch Islamists attack dozens of churches.
“It burns my heart,” she says. “It burns my heart because these people don’t deserve that at all. They deserve peace. They deserve life.”
Girgis says she doesn’t expect a Christian to begin running her country. But she says Egypt needs a Muslim leader who “respects all religions.”
Lining the street near Riverfront Park, protesters chant “Army, yes. Morsi, no.” They support military rule and oppose any cooperation with ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Emad Megally is a pharmacist who left Egypt a year ago. Carrying his daughter Kathien on his shoulders, he says – despite the violence – he feels compelled to go home.
“I’m not glad to be here right now,” he says. “I’m supposed to be there, especially in these conditions, in these circumstances.”
Coptic Christians also marched outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles over the weekend. Some of those at the Nashville rally plan to drive to Washington D.C. on Thursday, when Coptic Christians from around the country plan to protest outside the White House.