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Anaheim’s Little Arabia Celebrates Mubarak’s Resignation

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ANAHEIM (CBS) — Egyptian and Arab Americans gathered in Anaheim’s Little Arabia Friday to celebrate the news that embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down after two weeks of national protests.

Little Arabia, along Brookhurst Street, is the center of Orange County’s Arab-American community, made up largely by individuals from Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.

People danced and sang in one shopping center parking lot, waving the Egyptian flag.

“We feel really proud of the Egyptian people, what they did,” Arab American Tawfieq Mousa said. “What they did this is not just for Egypt this is for the entire world, for all the other Arab countries.

“Today we are all Egyptians.”

Mubarak, who ruled with an iron fist for three decades, resigned his presidency to the military Friday following 18 days of protests. The announcement was met with cheers, fireworks and celebration in the streets of Cairo.

Omar Zaki, a 44-year-old insurance agency owner who lives in Riverside, said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he read the caption under the television images of jubilant protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“I almost had to pinch myself,” he said. He believes the movement will ripple throughout the Middle East, noting the old Arabic saying that Egypt is the “mother of the world.”

“What happens there makes a significant difference,” he said.

Egyptian-American Iman Elgindy says she visited Egypt just three weeks ago and saw that many people in her homeland had a hard time just getting bread. The news about Mubarak’s departure gives her hope, she said.

“I want everybody to have a good life over there,” Elgindy said.

Amid the celebration is the nagging concern about the transition of power.

“I believe the whole pop of Egypt should have listened and waited until he finished his term, so it can be peaceful transition, but not like this,” said Joud Kamal, an Arab American who is half Egyptian. “Most people are just running with the crowd and they don’t know what’s the outcome of these situations.”

Celebrations in Little Arabia are being organized for 5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday, CBS2/KCAL9’s Michele Gile reported.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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