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Egyptian Culture, Part 1: Islam and Sharia Law

What is Egyptian Culture? Where can we learn about it? Not on the Egyptian television. Western culture is admired and imitated in the Egyptian media, but not in the typical Egyptian home. The Egyptian TV sitcoms, serials, and movies are full of very western-styled actors and actresses portraying lives only slightly more conservative than in the West. In the United States, for example, if a foreigner wants to understand American culture, it is reasonable to study American media, because, generally speaking, it portrays American lifestyles accurately. But in Egypt, this strategy will fail completely. Perhaps only 5% of the population actually lives like what is typically portrayed on the TV. It is some kind of enjoyable National Fantasy, but definitely not a reflection of what’s really going on under the typical roof with the satellite dish. I live here! It totally doesn’t look like that! This “cultural spin” is quite shocking, so I have spent some time researching Egyptian culture, as I see it all around me here. This is the first essay in a series on the “nuts” and “bolts” of Egyptian Culture. In this essay, I am dealing primarily with the influence on daily life by Islam in general, and delving into the primary component of this influence, “Sharia Law.”
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