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Chicago-area Egyptians want Mubarak out

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Many native Egyptians living in the Chicago area believe President Hosni Mubarak needs to go,

“He should leave; but in a peaceful way,” said Boulos Estafanous, owner of Ossama’s Hair Design, with locations in the Loop and Hyde Park.

“If he walks out now, it’s not good for the country. Anybody could jump in the chair. We would have this problem again for the next couple of years.”

As demonstrators in Egypt protested corruption, police brutality, lack of free elections and free speech, high unemployment, low minimum wages and food pirce inflation, Mubarak on Thursday said he handed his powers over to Vice President Omar Suleiman but that he was not resigning as president.

Estafanous, who has lived in the United States for 25 years, said each of Egypt’s 28 political parties should put forth a candidate for the job.

“It’s not his fault he’s been there for 30 years. It’s our fault for not protesting before,” he said. “We should have protested a long time ago.”

But Sheref Akelany, owner of Arabesk restaurant in the Albany Park neighborhood, wants the leader to leave the post immediately.

“That’s b-------! That’s been going on for something like 30 years! He’s trying to do anything to keep himself there until next September,” Akelany said. “Right now, the army should do something.”

Realtor Joseph Estafanous, nephew of Boulos Estafanous agrees with his uncle that Mubarak should stay on until a democratic transition can occur.

“If he steps down right now, it’s just going to cause more strife and chaos. But if he takes more gradual steps, it gives Egypt, as a whole, time to gather together itself and make the changes that it needs to for a new government to take over,” said the 42-year-old Downers Grove man who has lived in the United Sates since he was a year old. “It’s the only move that can be positive.” “This is the first time where I’ve seen in my lifetime where the people have voiced themselves in a loud enough way that the world is listening.”

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