Orland Park Man Returned to Libya to Fight

The local Libyan-American followed his father to Libya to help oust Gadhafi

By Lisa Balde
|  Thursday, Mar 31, 2011  |  Updated 3:07 PM CDT
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Orland Park Man Returned to Libya to Fight

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If it were up to Sanad Elfirjani, he'd still be in Libya, helping the effort to oust Moammar Gadhafi.

The 27-year-old Libyan-American recently returned to his home in Orland Park after fighting in the country he grew up in. He followed his 60-year-old father, Ibrahim, who left Illinois late last month.

For both of them, two of an unkown number of Libyan-Americans returning to their homeland, the goal is the same: "to go and kick [Gadhafi] out of Libya so we can all have out freedom back."

"What we are calling for right now," Elfirjani said, "is to either support the people over there with equipment or recognize them as an acting government."

Elfirjani lived in Libya with his mother and sister until age 19, when they fled in 2003 for Egypt and then the United States. Before he recently returned to Libya, his mother made him promise not to be on the front lines with his father.

Elfirjani agreed but did what he could to help the effort. Assisting TV stations with coverage and translating interviews. Keeping tabs on his mom in Illinois. Staying in touch with his father, who he still talks to every few days.

Ibrahim Elfirjani, the owner of an auto repair shop in Orland Park, helps with communication between the rebels and the front lines.

"I have been there [before]," Sanad Elfirjani said. "I have seen these things first hand."

Elfirjani was planning to ask his mom if he could stay in Libya longer, but she got sick.

He returned to Illinois on March 12.

Since then Elfirjani began plans to organize a local informational group called Chicago Libyans For Change. The group will hold symposiums and workshops to educate people about Libya.

It's not the same as being on the front lines, where he joined his father for a few days anyway before returning to Illinois. But If Elfirjani can't be back in Libya, he'll do what he can here.
 

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