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Egyptians in US divided on Mubarak's fate

world Updated: Feb 07, 2011 10:36 IST

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As thousands of anti-government protesters out on streets in Egyptian cities demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, Egyptians living offer differing opinions on the embattled leader as they debate the best way forward for their homeland.

For some, what happens in Egypt in next few days will impact their future as well.

Azza Shafik, a Hookah cafe owner in Brooklyn, says that her decision to stay in the United States or return home will depend on whether Mubarak is ousted from power.

"If Mubarak goes then I will go back there for business...I want to start an internet cafe," Shafik said, asserting that she wanted to join her family members in Cairo who are participating in the anti-regime demonstrations.

The owner of the cafe across the street, which has many Egyptian hang-outs, is a staunch Mubarak supporter.

And the waiter there said he served as a soldier under the president who was in the military before joining politics.

Like Shafik, he wants to be at home -- but to support the president.

"I would be out on the streets for Mubarak," said Hani, the waiter.

"He is a fine man and he used to shake hands with each one of us... He is a soldier and he will not run away."

Since the uprising erupted on January 25, Egyptians here have been glued to their television sets watching images of protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo as well as the clashes between the pro- and anti-Mubarak groups.

Under growing pressure, Mubarak has formed the new government and appointed his long time intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as first vice president in 30 year.

But the anti-Mubarak camp wants him out now.

"There must be a final push now or we will never get the momentum back," said Shafik.

The government has shutdown the internet and come under a great deal of international criticism for attacks on journalists.

The pro-Mubarak group, however, criticized the media for over-simplifying what was happening in Egypt.

Fareed, an Egyptian doctor using a pseudonym, returned to New York from Cairo on Thursday after attending a pro-Mubarak rally.

Contrary to several media reports, the doctor insisted that Mubarak-supporters had not been bribed by the government to take to the streets.

"I'm one of them and I wasn't given any money."