The Bronx Clergy Task Force discussed the deteriorating situation in Egypt and began considering what the borough’s religious community can do to help them.
During its meeting at Bronx County Courthouse on Wednesday, February 9, ministers present spoke of the pain in their hearts and the sympathies for the Egyptian people in their struggle revolting against a repressive government.
Bishop Angel Rosario, pastor of the Church of God’s Children at 127 Dreiser Loop in Co-op City and CEO of the task force, which operates under the auspices of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office, said that the Bronx’s African community was mobilizing in support of their Egyptian brothers and sisters.
“The African community of the Bronx is mobilizing and asking Hosni Mubarak to step down from presidency, and he is going to leave, but the question is what will come after him,” Rosario said. “With the power that he currently has he could destroy an entire nation. We don’t know if it would be better if he left now, or later, in terms of the country’s stability.”
Rosario did not have to wait long. Mubarak turned over and left office amid widespread demonstrations against his regime on Friday, February 11. Some in the religious community in the borough said he was oppressive.
“When you have people in a position over many years where the system is not fulfilling their needs, they will eventually demand a more participatory and representative government,” said Oscar Asencio, Bronx office of NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Whatever is right or wrong, we have to bring peace to the country and avoid bloodshed, not just in Egypt but around the world.”
Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, an attendee, said that the Bronx’s African community is closely watching the situation in Egypt because there are many countries on the continent and nearby that are in similar situations, with one man or family in power for decades.
“Right now, the African community in the borough is feeling jubilation because of so many African countries in similar situations with people like Mubarak, dictators who are grooming their children to take over,” Drammeh said. “With Mubarak removed, it will send a clear message to leaders in countries like Yemen, Syria, and Jordan that their days are numbered.”
Mubarak, a hero to some in the United States, is an enemy of free speech to Drammeh, the leader of the Masjid Aliman in Parkchester. Upon Mubarak’s removal, he cautioned that this is only just the beginning of a painful transition for Egypt.