Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tourism, bikinis and Pharaonic monuments

The Media Line (David E. Miller)

Sunbathing in Alexandria may soon be a thing of the past, at least if some Egyptian Islamist politicians have their way.

Egypt's tourism industry has suffered a severe blow since the outburst of anti-regime demonstrations in January. But that did not stop the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, from demanding stricter regulations over what tourists can do and wear while visiting the country. The party is urging officials to ban skimpy swimwear and the consumption of alcohol on Egyptian streets. . . .

But bathing suits are not the only worry of Egypt’s Islamists. Abd Al-Munim A-Shahhat, a spokesman for the Salafi group Dawa, has said that Egypt's world-renowned pharaonic archeology – its pyramids, Sphinx and other monuments covered with un-Islamic imagery – should also be hidden from the public eye.

"The pharaonic culture is a rotten culture," A-Shahhat told the London-based Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday, saying the faces of ancient statues "should be covered with wax, since they are religiously forbidden." He likened the Egyptian relics to the idols which circled the walls of Mecca in pre-Islamic times.

1 comment:

Thutmose said...

I know that the vast majority of the people in Egypt don't want anything to do with what proposals mentioned in the article, such as hiding the pharaonic monuments or "covering them in wax" to take them out of view. But that same majority cannot be complacent about those radical views. There are people who want to hide or destroy the ancient monuments and statues. They are very few in number but tend to be highly motivated. But I have faith in the people of Egypt to resist the radicals.