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Author Topic: Persecution in Egypt brings church members to TN  (Read 2075 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 25, 2010, 06:08:46 AM »

Persecution in Egypt brings church members to TN

Coptic Chrisitans grow in Nashville

By Chris Echegaray
THE TENNESSEAN


These days, when incense smoke rises at St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church, it carries with it prayers of thanks from Nashville's Egyptian community, who lost furniture and carpets to the flood instead of lives.

The Egyptian Christians live quietly, often gathering at the same places, a group persecuted in their Muslim-dominated homeland and granted asylum in the United States. In Middle Tennessee, they've grown from about 100 in the early 1990s to about 4,000 people today. One small Coptic church grew to four.

Many local volunteers and charitable groups learned about them earlier this month, when about 60 Egyptian families were flooded out of a single apartment complex off Murfreesboro Pike earlier this month.

Some arrived through a U.S. State Department visa lottery — 50,000 visas are set aside annually for people in countries with low immigration to the U.S. More than 4,000 Egyptians applied for those last year.

Some also apply for religious asylum. Copts are 5 percent to 15 percent of Egypt's population, and the U.S. recognizes they face subtle and overt discrimination in their homeland.

Once they get permission to come, Catholic Charities and other international nonprofits help settle them in Nashville and other cities. Some settled up north move to Tennessee for jobs with Gaylord Opryland and at the Tyson chicken processing plant in Shelbyville.

'A better future here'

Abdel Malak applied for the U.S. visa lottery even though winning would mean giving up his family-owned convenience store in Cairo.

He could not point to one incident that made up his mind to move — Malak just had the idea that any life in the U.S. would be better than a middle-class one in Egypt. He moved his wife and two children to Nashville 18 months ago.

Here, Malak carpools for nearly two hours to a Tyson plant in Shelbyville, working the night shift stacking chicken racks.

"Back in Egypt, I was the manager. Here, it's different," he said in Arabic, with his 17-year-old son, Bishoy, translating. "I felt there was a better future here."

Professor Juan Campo, an expert on Coptic Christianity at University of California Santa Barbara, said the Coptic community calls itself one of the earliest Christians, tracing back to St. Mark, the patron saint of their church.

Saints and miracles are important to them, he said. It's visible at a St. Mina service in South Nashville. Members stand before paintings of their favorite saints, lighting candles and saying a quiet prayer. On the underside of their right wrist, many bear a tiny cross tattoo, applied after they're baptized.

Samer Salib is one who wears the sign proudly. Salib, whose last name means "cross," is a 20-year-old who arrived nearly three years ago with his family. At his suburban Cairo school, Salib said, Muslim teachers often ignored the Christian students, refusing to call on them in class and barring them from extracurricular activities. In more rural areas, Coptic Christians faced beatings and death.

In Nashville, he translates for other Egyptians and helped organized one of the first Coptic Boy Scout troops.

When his home phone rang last week, Salib's mother answered and called for him.

"It must be a call in English,'' he explained quietly.

He was instrumental in helping families in the flooded Millwood Manor Apartments in South Nashville understand how they could get help.

So was the Rev. Boutros Boutros of St. Mina, who translated for the newcomers who just lost their apartments and jobs in one swoop.

"They call me whenever something happens, and the church is here to help," he said. "There are a lot of families with just months and in some cases weeks in the country."

Three weeks after the flood, the Millwood apartment complex still shows signs of the damage. Moldy sofas and mattresses sit outside near jam-packed Dumpsters.

In the evening, Egyptian children sometimes run to greet the police cruisers that circle the complex, collecting candy from the officers inside.

The complex is, some of the Egyptians say, their first step before getting assimilated to life in the U.S.

"It's the first stage for us here,'' Salib said. "It's our first stop. Then, we leave and go on to better things."
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2010, 04:37:58 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 04:44:15 PM by Robb » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2010, 05:17:31 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

Just to the rampant liberalism.  They are better off with the like minded.

Tennessee is just fine.
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 05:23:01 PM »

I've actually attended St Mina's Coptic Church in Nashville.  Fr Boutros is a very nice priest.  The Copt population is getting so large that they now have 3 Coptic Churches just in the Nashville area.  St Mina, St Bishoy, and St Mark.
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 05:27:25 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

I think Gabriel answered your frankly ignorant and prejudiced question.  There's already an established diaspora of Copts in TN.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 05:31:38 PM »

I've actually attended St Mina's Coptic Church in Nashville.  Fr Boutros is a very nice priest.  The Copt population is getting so large that they now have 3 Coptic Churches just in the Nashville area.  St Mina, St Bishoy, and St Mark.

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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2010, 06:06:31 PM »

I think Gabriel answered your frankly ignorant and prejudiced question.  There's already an established diaspora of Copts in TN.

You should've seen St Mina's before St Mark was finished.  On Sunday, there were people waiting in the narthex because there were no empty seats and no standing room.

Fr Boutros used to have English services on Wednesday and Arabic on Friday.  If I ever attended the Friday service, he'd make it half-English and half-Arabic just for me. 

Very nice man.
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2010, 08:27:40 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

As a Nashville native I respectfully disagree. Orthodoxy is doing well in Nashville. In addition to the growing Coptic community, you have St. Ignatius Church, Holy Trinity Church, and a new and growing mission St. John Chrysostom. Just 25 minutes south you have St. Elizabeth Church. We also have a really great Orthodox Cafe/Coffeehouse and bookstore that witnesses to the Vanderbilt University campus called Alektor Cafe and Books. it's run by Fr. Parthenios and his wife from St. John Chrysostom Mission.

BTW the OSB is printed by the Nashville-headquatered firm Thomas Nelson Publishers, whose CEO is an Orthodox deacon.

Nashville is doing alright. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2010, 08:33:50 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

As a Nashville native I respectfully disagree. Orthodoxy is doing well in Nashville. In addition to the growing Coptic community, you have St. Ignatius Church, Holy Trinity Church, and a new and growing mission St. John Chrysostom. Just 25 minutes south you have St. Elizabeth Church. We also have a really great Orthodox Cafe/Coffeehouse and bookstore that witnesses to the Vanderbilt University campus called Alektor Cafe and Books. it's run by Fr. Parthenios and his wife from St. John Chrysostom Mission.

BTW the OSB is printed by the Nashville-headquatered firm Thomas Nelson Publishers, whose CEO is an Orthodox deacon.

Nashville is doing alright. Smiley

Is there a WRO in Nashville?
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2010, 09:28:15 PM »

It's interesting the article mentions that some moved up or commute to Shelbyville to work at the chicken plant. I thought Shelbyville has a very large Somali Muslim population and many work at that plant. I wonder how the relations between the 2 groups are and if there could/would be problems like what they left.

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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2010, 09:31:27 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

As a Nashville native I respectfully disagree. Orthodoxy is doing well in Nashville. In addition to the growing Coptic community, you have St. Ignatius Church, Holy Trinity Church, and a new and growing mission St. John Chrysostom. Just 25 minutes south you have St. Elizabeth Church. We also have a really great Orthodox Cafe/Coffeehouse and bookstore that witnesses to the Vanderbilt University campus called Alektor Cafe and Books. it's run by Fr. Parthenios and his wife from St. John Chrysostom Mission.

BTW the OSB is printed by the Nashville-headquatered firm Thomas Nelson Publishers, whose CEO is an Orthodox deacon.

Nashville is doing alright. Smiley

Is there a WRO in Nashville?

Not that I'm familiar with, unless it's been in the last year or so.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 01:33:13 AM »

It's interesting the article mentions that some moved up or commute to Shelbyville to work at the chicken plant. I thought Shelbyville has a very large Somali Muslim population and many work at that plant. I wonder how the relations between the 2 groups are and if there could/would be problems like what they left.



Shelbyville, is that by any chance near Springfield Grin?
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 01:34:33 AM »

When people come over, they don't realize that in two generations their faith and ancient identity will be gone forever. They come for money and success, but seldom find either. America has its own problems; there is no promised land.
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 01:37:14 AM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee? They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians. They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

I think Gabriel answered your frankly ignorant and prejudiced question.  There's already an established diaspora of Copts in TN.

I don't think that there was anything ignorant or prejudiced about my comments.  The south is a very homogenius society and does not have a history of sustaining diverse and ethnic cultures as do other regions of the USA.  Almost every group that has migrated to the south have been swallowed up and absorbed by their society.  

I also have a right to express pride and devotion to my home state just as southerners frequently do for theirs.  NJ is a unique place and I am proud to come from there.
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2010, 09:02:31 PM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee?  They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians.  They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

As a Nashville native I respectfully disagree. Orthodoxy is doing well in Nashville. In addition to the growing Coptic community, you have St. Ignatius Church, Holy Trinity Church, and a new and growing mission St. John Chrysostom. Just 25 minutes south you have St. Elizabeth Church. We also have a really great Orthodox Cafe/Coffeehouse and bookstore that witnesses to the Vanderbilt University campus called Alektor Cafe and Books. it's run by Fr. Parthenios and his wife from St. John Chrysostom Mission.

BTW the OSB is printed by the Nashville-headquatered firm Thomas Nelson Publishers, whose CEO is an Orthodox deacon.

Nashville is doing alright. Smiley

Is there a WRO in Nashville?

No, there is no WR parish in Nashville. I think one will come in time. I no longer live in Nashville, but attend a WR parish in DC.
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2010, 06:46:56 AM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee? They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians. They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

I think Gabriel answered your frankly ignorant and prejudiced question.  There's already an established diaspora of Copts in TN.

I don't think that there was anything ignorant or prejudiced about my comments.  The south is a very homogenius society and does not have a history of sustaining diverse and ethnic cultures as do other regions of the USA.  Almost every group that has migrated to the south have been swallowed up and absorbed by their society.  

I also have a right to express pride and devotion to my home state just as southerners frequently do for theirs.  NJ is a unique place and I am proud to come from there.

Huh, I'm from Florida (the part that is in the South) and 50% of the people I know are of ethnicities other than "southern." And if you go where my family is from in West Virginia (again, the part that is in the South) you can find communities of Antiochians and others that have been there for over a century. The idea that the South is homogenous isn't just dead, it was never completely true.
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2010, 09:07:19 AM »

Why would any foreigner want to settle in Tennessee? They have few Catholics there even, not to mention Eastern Christians. They will all be swallowed up by the culture there.  

Better to settle in New Jersey where their is a long standing diversity of ethnic groups and the people will not assimilated so quickly.

I think Gabriel answered your frankly ignorant and prejudiced question.  There's already an established diaspora of Copts in TN.

I don't think that there was anything ignorant or prejudiced about my comments.  The south is a very homogenius society and does not have a history of sustaining diverse and ethnic cultures as do other regions of the USA.  Almost every group that has migrated to the south have been swallowed up and absorbed by their society.  

I also have a right to express pride and devotion to my home state just as southerners frequently do for theirs.  NJ is a unique place and I am proud to come from there.

Huh, I'm from Florida (the part that is in the South) and 50% of the people I know are of ethnicities other than "southern." And if you go where my family is from in West Virginia (again, the part that is in the South) you can find communities of Antiochians and others that have been there for over a century. The idea that the South is homogenous isn't just dead, it was never completely true.

For one thing, look at the Cajuns.

There is a difference, however, in that most of us Yankees came off some boat after the War Between the States.  Up until recently, such was not the rule in the South. Hence, the history of that war was family history for most, whereas in the North that was just the personal history of the established families. There are exceptions: the oldest Greek Orthodox Church is in New Orleans, founded during the war by members (Greek, Slavic, Arab) who had been there for at least a generation before. But there is a difference of the dominant culture in North and South to their common history as one country.
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2010, 09:04:04 PM »

"Islams public ememy Number 1"

This is a very interesting interview with a Coptic priest and the female host of a Moslem women's tv show

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/islams-public-enemy-1-coptic-priest-zakaria-boutros

 
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