Interesting story appeared today in the LA Times about an African-American Muslim’s trip to Cairo, Egypt.
He was surprised by Cairo’s nightlife, which stretched until the dawn call-to-prayers. He chuckled at scenes of women in colorful Islamic head scarves cuddling up with their boyfriends or young hipsters in aviator glasses listening to hip-hop star Lil Jon in their sports cars.
To his surprise, he found his Egyptian friends more eager to drag him to the new shopping malls built in the suburbs of Cairo than to proselytize about Islam.
But Ali preferred to spend time studying Arabic or for the Law School Admission Test, or else visiting old mosques and the city’s ancient quarters.
“They have more fun here than we do,” he said, surprised by how libertine Cairo’s ways differed from the stereotypical image of austere life in the Middle Eastern nations of the Persian Gulf. “There are couples walking around, out on dates and holding hands over the Nile. I expected the Middle East was going to be way more strict. I thought the men and women aren’t going to be touching. All that stuff is crap.”