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On the (Egyptian) Road Again: The Trials of Cairo Traffic

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There are certain things that I’ll simply never get used to no matter how long I stay in Egypt: the inefficiency; the poor customer service; and, especially, the [anything that has to do with four wheels and a motor].

When I was in college, some of my Southern friends would occasionally comment on how crazy the drivers in New York City are (me included, I assumed). “Silly country boys with your ‘hospitality’ and dirt roads,” I would think to myself, “learn to drive in a real city!” It wasn’t long after moving to Egypt that my urban arrogance came back to bite me.

“Did he just do that?!?”

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Driving in Egypt is not “safe.”  The modus operandi on the road, so far as I can tell, is to try and out-crazy the drivers on either side of you. It’s as if the whole nation learned how to drive from New York cabbies (I know what you’re thinking, and shame on you – stop perpetuating the stereotype, people).

As dangerous as the regular drivers are, there’s a special level of obscenity reserved for the taxis and dollar cabs (minibuses) here. Since each of these vehicles is seemingly equipped to run on only two speeds – fast and ridiculous – you can imagine the maneuvers that take place…oohhh the maneuvers.

It’s not uncommon to see my man in the far right lane cutting across three cars to make a left turn. Nor is it surprising when el hajj going the wrong way down a one-way street makes a u-turn to go the wrong way up the other side. 3aadi ya3ni.

Were that these indiscretions left only the drivers at risk.

Look both ways (and make tawba) before crossing the street

Walking in Egypt is not “safe.” The perils of Egyptian driving, unfortunately, touch pedestrians as well – often, literally. Between the tight roadways and virtually non-existent walkways (sidewalks are for sissy Americans), it’s best to, as my high school football coach advised, always keep your head on a swivel. You never know when a car, minibus, big bus, linebacker, or donkey is going to blindside you.

As much as possible, too, one should just pick a side of the street and stay on it. It’s either that or engage in a high stakes game of live action Frogger. Here, the notion of pedestrian “right of way” is replaced with “(get) right (the heck out) of (my) way (you #&@!%).”

Despite all these hazards, Egyptians seem to manage just fine. For you non-Egyptians planning to visit Masr, however, here are a few more things to keep in mind for the sake of your safety (and sanity):

  • Smoke monsters are not exclusive to “The Island” – they emerge regularly from the 70s and 80s model cars that fill Egypt’s roads (emission controls are for sissy Americans).
  • Traffic lights and stop signs are more suggestive than anything – a guideline, really. Sort of like “parley.”
  • At night, don’t assume that just because you don’t see any headlights there aren’t any cars on the road. What Egyptians lack in driving etiquette, they more than make up for in cat-like night vision. They’ll actually flash their brights at you if you have your lights on. (…seriously)

If you have to ask, you’re not from around here

“Why do Egyptians honk the horn when there’s no one in front of them? And why don’t they stay in their lane?!? And for that matter, why do two-lane roadways fit three cars across?!?!?”

These are some of the perplexing questions I often pose to my Egyptian friends and family. To which they shrug and reply, “Because this is Egypt.”

“Silly American with your ‘regulations’ and efficient highway system,” I imagine they think to themselves when I bring up these grievances, “learn to drive in a real city!”

Fair enough. For my part though, I wonder whether everyone wouldn’t be better off if we just gave in to the stereotype and reverted to camel-based transportation. I do hear they get great mileage.

***

For some more tips on how to get around Egypt (that are a bit less tongue-in-cheek), check out this brief guide.

Safe travels!

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Youssef Chouhoud is an assistant professor of political science at Christopher Newport University, where he is affiliated with the Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. Youssef completed his PhD at the Political Science and International Relations program at the University of Southern California as a Provost’s Fellow. His research interests include political attitudes and behavior, survey methodology, and comparative democratization.

63 Comments

63 Comments

  1. Dreamlife

    October 15, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    I’ve only ever been there once – and crossing the road in Cairo was a scary experience :(

    But hey – if you can cope with this kind of traffic (non)system – then you’re probably able to handle roads anywhere in the world, right? :)

  2. Saleha

    October 15, 2010 at 2:16 AM

    Salaam Alaikum :-)

    This article- while extremely humorous and informative, is also a great representation of the driving/vehicle situation in much of the Middle East.

    Sometimes I wonder, if we cannot straighten out small issues such as following the lines on the road, how can we expect the political world to take us seriously?

    I think it’s always important to be proud of your country, but when pride gets in the way of creating positive change, that pride becomes poisonous- turns into vanity. And nobody wants to be vain!

    I’m Arabic :-) yearning for some of that positive change…. InshAllah. Ya Rab!

    MashAllah awesome article.

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 8:28 AM

      W/Salam!

      Yeah, I’ve actually thought about that phenomenon too. That whole tree-forest metaphor comes to mind. I get really disheartened when I see how little people care to improve their surroundings. Here’s hoping that inshAllah we get our act together.

      In the meantime, at least we’ll have some fodder for self-deprecation :)

  3. Maryanne Stroud

    October 15, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    Nice article. I learned to drive in Egypt about 20 years ago in Alexandria and it still took me years to master Cairo. I always tell people who are struggling to understand driving here to think about fish. Specifically to think about the way that a school of fish somehow manages all to turn in the same direction without slamming into each other. Egyptians learn to have that same abilitiy.

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 8:30 AM

      Ha! That’s spot on. I’ve always thought of it as en masse ice skating, but I like the fish imagery better, heh.

  4. Amatullah

    October 15, 2010 at 3:29 AM

    I love this article!

    I’ve been here for a year, and crossing the streets still scare me, and taxi drivers/microbus drivers still make my heart skip a beat.

    Once during the first few months I was here, I was trying to cross a really busy street and I was standing at the curb for about 5 mins. I would step onto the street and then jump back on the curb after the cars drove by me so fast. Then a man who was waiting at the bus stop sees me struggling and comes and asks me if I’m trying to cross. I say YES!, and he’s like ok ok, so he just walks into the street motioning to the cars to stop then he walks me to the other side. It was so nice of him mashaAllah, may Allah reward him!

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 8:31 AM

      I once had to cross, no joke, ten-lanes (5 in each direction) of what we would no doubt call a highway in the states. No joke, took me almost a half-hour :-/

      • Abu Hawwa

        October 16, 2010 at 2:48 AM

        Same here with me and Share3 Salah Salem. 26 mins to be exact!

  5. Umm Reem

    October 15, 2010 at 5:35 AM

    “3aadi ya3ni” LOL!

    I can relate a lot to ur post…though maybe Doha traffic is much better than Saudi, for instance, we still see those in far right lane making a left turn, and blocking the right turn only lane to squeeze themselves into the straight going traffic….and round-abouts, let’s not even go there!

    When we first moved here, my husband suggested to hire a driver and i objected because I didn’t want to lose my “freedom” of driving…and now…i want someone to revoke my license :)

  6. Ahmad

    October 15, 2010 at 5:45 AM

    I’m thinking of getting my first car to drive in Cairo when going back later this year. I am dreading the drive, but I know one of my friends has become truly ‘Egyptian’ after driving for a year or so (and he has no license, here or there!).

    I got use to crossing streets, its a matter of precise calculation and bravery. Also don’t look like a sissy when you see young girls crossing without fear.

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 8:37 AM

      its a matter of precise calculation and bravery

      Yeah, any would-be physicists studying chaos theory need to do some fieldwork on Abbas El Akkad.

      • Omar

        October 15, 2010 at 12:56 PM

        Chaos theory does not begin to describe Abbas El-Akkad.
        Youssef, were you one of those crazy guys trying to cross Elda2ery on foot? (what’s crazier is that old aunties often do the same things …)

        But it is painful to see Egypt like this.
        – There is virtually no traffic planning system, all improvements are extremely reactive, and happen a few years after the traffic situation is just unbearable
        – probably half the cars are unsafe, many are older than you and should not be on the road
        – a good deal of drivers should not be driving, others get their license through corruption while never leaving their home because they know the right people
        – city populations are not planned or distributed with traffic in mind, most intersections are self managed with large ones having a lowly conscript on duty to manage traffic – very few traffic lights
        – Many roads are in terrible shape, with potholes, makeshift ‘independent’ speedbumps designed to destroy your car, uncovered manholes and random obstacles
        – Most often, there are no signs indicating street names or directions, and the few that are present are unmaintained
        – Parking is ridiculous, most buildings converted their parking garages into storage and shops, resulting cars parked on the street everywhere, sometimes up to 3 lanes, blocking traffic
        – Law enforcement is selective, if you or your family know the right people, you will never get a ticket

        We should not be amused with our own failings, but struggle to fix them. This is not unique to Egypt, but common to most developing countries, many of them Muslim countries.

        We should be fixing this problem individually in our driving habits, and more importantly making it clear to the incompetent government that they must fix this.

        I must admit there were a couple of times when driving in Cairo was human. They were between 2am and 6am however (even then the streets are not empty).

        Seriously though, it is not all bad, there are some improvements every so often, and I know of many places in the world where it is far worse, but we are still obliged to fix these silly problems, especially since the solution does not require rocket science

        • Youssef Chouhoud

          October 15, 2010 at 4:20 PM

          were you one of those crazy guys trying to cross Elda2ery on foot?

          Nah man, I ain’t got the fortitude of the aunties.

          The 10-lane highway-ish road was whatever that street is that perpendicular to the end of Share3 El Tayaraan (by fundu2 Sonesta). This teenager crossed in like two minutes. Me and this army guy took between dhuhr and ‘asr

          :S

          • Omar

            October 15, 2010 at 6:40 PM

            Ah, the mighty Share3 Salah Salem

          • Youssef Chouhoud

            October 16, 2010 at 5:58 AM

            Aw man, Salah Salam! I really should’ve known that. Definitely lost some Masry points there :-/

          • Ahmad

            October 16, 2010 at 6:46 AM

            Salah Salem is one of the most dangerous and Abbass Al-Aqqad is like country path in comparison.

            I recently saw traffic lights and YES, they did stop. This was in Roxy, near Nady Heliopolis, the whole row of cars came to a stand still. Amazing sight!

            And on top of all this, the cars are really expensive in Egypt. An old datsun may take you back a bit, for the same, you can get a nice little runner here in the UK thats ten years old!

  7. Wisconsinite

    October 15, 2010 at 6:39 AM

    I just moved to Jeddah about 3 weeks ago and will be here for the next 3 years…

    I have to say that the driving here is scary too…very similar to the description above.

    Does Egypt have a lot of round-abouts? Jeddah is full of huge round-abouts which are absolutely ridiculous to go through. In America, the laws are that u cannot change lanes once u enter a round-about and that the people entering the round-about have to yield to those circling the round-about. Just try to imagine the chaos when both those rules are not obeyed in a round-about with over 40+ cars.

    • Abu Nurayn

      October 15, 2010 at 9:59 AM

      That sounds like Boston drivers. Rotaries (round-abouts) are everywhere here and it’s more or less a free-for-all.

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 4:23 PM

      There aren’t many roundabouts on the older streets, but the newer roads in Cairo’s satellite cities have ’em. And yeah, it’s pretty much a game of chicken if you’re already inside. Gotta have nerves of steel…

  8. Abu Eesa

    October 15, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    Assalamu Alaiykom

    I wanted to point something out, not a lot of people in Egypt own cars…. YET! Just wait until TATA releases it’s ultra cheap car into that market… WOOO HOOO!!

    By the way, this article is more true of driving in Cairo. I learned to drive in Cairo so I can happily say that Alexandria is A LOT better driving wise. I’m ashamed to drive down there with my “Cairo” license plates (for those who don’t know, in Egypt license plates are done by governates – sort of like large counties).

    Funny article masha’allah. Unfortunately very true also. The worst is the night driving by far because almost NO ONE turns their lights on because they believe that it drains the battery or that the street lights do the job for them. I try to encourage people that are driving there to turn the lights on, especially cab drivers. Al-hamdulillah, most people are humble enough to try to change their ways.

    I do disagree with camel based transport, they smell really bad!! Horse or donkey is the way to go, plus the ride is less bumpy.

  9. Ameera Khan

    October 15, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    *tsk* *tsk*

    You people are all whining about the traffic… tsk tsk… come to Karachi once and if you can drive here, you can drive anywhere. Case in point: If I’m driving straight down a one-way road (yeah, a four-lane road!), there’s a guy driving in the opposite direction, totally obstructing the flow of traffic and then gets annoyed when I signal my protest!

    The famous “Dulhan minibuses” (named after the bride-like manner in which they are adorned, glittering and all) rule the streets… stopping AT WILL, wherever they see a passenger. Besides that, these bus drivers often have races amongst themselves, oblivious to all other traffic on the street.

    Motorcyclists – aaah… motorcyclists! No traffic rule applies to them. Wherever they find enough space to maneuver their bikes, they will gladly do so… overtaking right or left, it’s totally up to them… while cars around them need to be extra careful they don’t bump into one!

    Rickshaws. Yes, it’s often said about these little noise-machines that they’ll go anywhere they can get their tiny little front-wheel into! :P Forget all else about how they drive! I was once inside a rickshaw where, to indicate where he wanted to turn, the driver would stick his leg out the corresponding side of the vehicle!

    Then there are the trucks, trawlers, government motorcades, police vans, donkey carts, hawkers, camel carts, etc etc.

    Really, you have GOT to be here to experience it. I challenge you Egyptians out there! :D I’ve lived in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, not Egypt, though) for years and really, compared to what I see here in Karachi, the traffic there was a *whole* lot better and organized! :)

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 4:25 PM

      a *whole* lot better and organized!

      Someone mark it down. This has to be the first time in recorded history that these two adjectives were used to describe driving in Cairo :P

      • Ameera Khan

        October 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM

        I meant that for Saudi Arabia… :D Haven’t been to Egypt… I think Karachi and Cairo might be in for a tie-breaker here.

    • Mohammed

      October 18, 2010 at 8:25 AM

      Same goes for India too :) Except I havent seen anyone stick out a leg yet , here they use hands :)

      And ofcourse we got cows and buffaloes here too. I have at multiple instances seen a shepherd drive a herd of goats thru the middle of the road. Beat that lol.

  10. Abdul-Razak

    October 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    AssalamAlaikum

    I enjoyed reading this article and smiled as it bought back some memories, as the driving described seems very similar to that in Pakistan. However i think driving in Lahore takes some beating, and in comparison i found Karachi a walk in park!!

    However i also can relate to the posts from Saleha and Youssef Chouhoud. Although i kind of found the driving In Pakistan “strangely” relaxing and enjoyable (probably due to its less formal and perhaps more carefree approach), i do sometimes think that it is a reflection of our ummah, especially in the Muslim countries.

    Kind of similar to the analogy of queueing: how can we sort out our problems as an Ummah when we can’t even respect each others right in a queue? How we can we instill disciple and patient when we can’t even queue properly?

    I sometimes feel that the lack of respect and attention to these basic driving regulations (such as a 2 lane road meant for 2 cars , not 3, or going the wrong way down a 1 way street, or cutting across many lanes to get to your exit) is indicative of our lack of respect for our Islamic ideals.

    Let me qualify that statement: What i mean to say is that as Muslims which we should aspire to the highest moral and social standards (such as patient, kindness manners etc), as exemplified by the best of creation Muhammad, Sallalla hu alaihi wasallam. Well i think that this also relates to (but not only to) driving as well.

    Another example: How many of you have seen an ambulance stuck in the traffic, and no-one giving it way in a some Muslim countries? I feel sad to see that because everyone moves out of the here in the UK. My heart pines to see that.

    Sometimes i think that perhaps if we can sort out these small basic things, we’d be able to make a lot more progress in the world.

    Sorry for being so sombre after what was essentially an amusing and well written article. And also please accept my apologies in case i have said something that you don’t like. That wasn’t my intention, i just wanted to convey my feelings.

    • mimi

      October 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM

      Salam,

      This is exactly what I was thinking when I read the article. The driving behaviour to me is a reflection of disregard for very basic (and human) manners and courtesies.

      It demonstrates:
      -everyone for themselves
      -outsmarting/outdoing others as a priority
      -lack of concern for efficiency
      -lack of concern for others’ (i.e., non-relatives/non-friends)
      -lack of concern for societal progress
      -etc.

      The above traits are often manifest in many other behaviours as well.

      • Omar

        October 15, 2010 at 12:57 PM

        No matter how nice and considerate you are, driving in Egypt will slowly transform you on the road. It is survival of the fittest, eat or be eaten.

  11. someone

    October 15, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    I dont find it endearing at all , its completely idiotic. Its not just about the driving its the total lack of care for security. You are not just endangering yourself but countless people. The weirdest thing is that people die daily because of that. If it was a system that only worked for them, then fine i can live with that. But when you see Egyptians falling off cars,trucks and minibuses in the highway and getting pummeled to death, then maybe just maybe you should opt to take the next buss home instead of squeezing urself into pact buss and a door-less buss at that. If you are going to drive like crazy , then maybe you should actually have seatbelt in the taxy cab, not for you but for the people you are transporting. Its the little things that make it ridiculous babies at the front of the car, 10 year old driving cars, two10 year olds dangling from the window of the car while their parents are parking. A 6 year old struggling to carry a three year old while dodging coming cars. Where is the logic in that people.

    • someone

      October 15, 2010 at 11:42 AM

      I did have a great time in Egypt, regardless of the whole crazy driving and all but when you spend 4 hours daily commuting back and forth between places you brain gets foggy and angry. If this offended anyone, are brought back memories they wanted to forget, I`m sorry. If driving was the most memorable thing from your stay there then kudos for you.

  12. ummousama

    October 15, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I’ve been here for 4 years and 3 years ago, they passed a law against driving at night without lights on. Alhamdulillah, now a majority of cars do have lights on while 3 years ago, it was maybe only 10%.

    Unfortunately, many people do die on the roads, one of them being my neighbour.

    As for the cars being old, there are a few reasons for that: one of them is that cars are very expensive. While a car in the West is worth 1/2 it’s value after a year, here it only goes down by 10%. another reason is that people are poor. A car is a huge investment, especially for taxi drivers. There are some improvements as you now have yellow cabs (it started 3-4 years ago) and these are well maintained.

    Egyptians are wonderful in the sense that, if you talk to them quoting Qur’an or hadeeth, they will shut up and accept what you say (it doesn’t mean they’ll change their ways though). So you can talk through them. You can ask a taxi driver to slow down. You can’t ask a minibus driver though as you’re not the only one in it. You can ask a driver to stop playing the music.

    Yes, driving is crazy. Yes, they don’t think of the consequences until it hits them. My husband and kids have seen one driving to his death on the highway. One taxi driver also told my husband (before he got in): “Do you have a heart?”. When my husband enquired, he said that his taxi had no brakes.

    May Allah guide us and them.

    As for people changing, you do have to talk to them personally. Some of them do think about what you say and they do change, especially if you tell them the evidence that what they are doing is unislamic.

    As for queues, there are some small improvements since I came.

    Change will happen when people will feel it in their pockets. This is how the West changed, one example being France. France got rid of their cars too when the government gave incentives for people owning cars older than 10 years old to buy a new car instead.

    When I went to primary school in Europe, we would sometimes drive back home 8 kids in a Beetle or in a mini Cooper. That was when there was only a seat belt for the driver ;)

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      October 15, 2010 at 4:40 PM

      3 years ago, they passed a law against driving at night without lights on.

      Aaahhh, so that’s why I’ve noticed a lot more lights at night. The flashing thing still holds, but at least it’s “acceptable” now to have ’em on.

      “Do you have a heart?”. When my husband enquired, he said that his taxi had no brakes.

      !!!!

  13. Nadya

    October 15, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    This was amusing.

    Such is the case in many “overseas” countries. I remember the 1st time I went to Jordan we were in the car while my native cousin was driving us somewhere on the “highway”, when he accidentaly misses the “exit” and proceeds, I kid you not, to reverse on the “highway” as cars swerve around him…………….

    Needless to say I said my shahada but Allahul Musta’an

  14. Sidiq

    October 15, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Assalamu alaykum,

    You painted a vivid picture of what it’s like driving a car in one of Egypt’s roads, I like the picture.

    But I have to say that this is definitely not one of the best articles around.

    It’s almost just an Egypt-bashing rant and it seems like a weak attempt at a clean break from the ‘befriending a mass murderer fiasco’ we had before. Why would anybody care that person z does not have headlights or that there are three cars on two-lane road in Egypt?

    • Muslim

      October 16, 2010 at 2:34 AM

      Assalamaleikom,

      I personally thought the article was great, funny and very true. Ive read your comments before brother and its really sad to see how you enjoy bashing against the authors of MM. Seriously brother, whats up with that?? If you dont like to read whats on MM, find another site to follow. Or comment and stay on topic please. Your comment brought nothing to the discussion and was completely unnecessary.

  15. abu Rumay-.s.a.

    October 16, 2010 at 3:57 AM

    I cannot imagine what it could be like in Cairo, but here in Jeddah its perty bad as well. The number of fatalities due to reckless driving is overwhelming, one one of the highest in the world.

    I think the main problem with such a tragedy results from the following
    – lack of efficient traffic system and laws
    – lack of implementation of the traffic laws, forget seeing the cops at donkin donuts, you hardly even see them on the streets
    – lack of care from the individual drivers
    – lack of concern from authorities and those responsible..

    all these shortcomings are a reflection of our own level of faith…haven’t we heard the saying, “how you drive reflects a lot about who you really are and your personality”… this chaotic phenomenon is not restricted only to the road, go to any supermarket, hospital, any public place, it is more or less the same mess…

    I remember back in high school in Florida when there were high incidents of of drunk driving, grassroots organizations such as MADD (mothers against drunk driving) and SADD(Students against drunk driving) sprung up trying to curb the harm that drunk drivers were causing and i believe they had made some influence on some laws that were later passed.. that is certainly food for thought…

    • Ahmad

      October 16, 2010 at 6:54 AM

      Is it an ingrained problem we have in many people of the East and predominantly in Muslim nations.

      – Don’t know how to cue or stand in a line (other than in salat)
      – We are careless of others around us
      – Poor disposal of trash
      – Reckless driving
      – Bad policing and authorities
      – Poor cleanliness and hygiene (mainly outdoors)
      – Lack of care for disabled people
      – Poor education
      – Poor treatment of women
      – Flirting/ogling at women on the street
      – Get over aggressive over little things
      – Holier than thou attitudes towards others

      It’s an inherent problem that exists from Pakistan to Morocco, we need to wise up and change as a people and follow the Sunnah.

      Maybe we should learn a thing or two from the Malaysians, who I’ve found to be very mannered in comparison to Bangladesh or Egypt or the Khaleej.

      It is easy for western Muslims to criticise, lets hope we can pray for change in Muslim countries.

      He will not change our condition until we change ours.

      • Sidiq

        October 16, 2010 at 8:27 AM

        Assalamu Alaykum,

        What a comment, I can see totally where you’re coming from having seen some of those things with my own two eyes in the ME. Your first point is a classic and you’re correct on your last points as well. May Allah help us.

        Perhaps you and abu Rumay should submit a post on your experiences and observations to MM :)

        • abu Rumay-.s.a.

          October 17, 2010 at 1:23 AM

          Great Idea!! Brother Yousuf is a much more prolific writer than I could ever hope to be, therefore, since he started this whole thing, I nominate him for a follow up article to address the underlying problems and possible practical solutions..we’ve given basic ideas to feed on… :)

      • ummousama

        October 16, 2010 at 9:03 AM

        Assalamu alaikum,

        While I agree with certain points, I disagree with others:

        1. Disabled people: do you really think that disabled people are treated well in the UK (to speak of the country I know best). Are you disabled yourself? The best treatment I had towards my son was in Algeria where complete strangers gave their boats or the equipments so that my son could enjoy the water. There might be a lack of facilities, yes. There might be a lack of services, yes. But the treatment from common people and the help that is offered to you before you even struggle is amazing. Another example at another beach was that the car was a bit far. As the lifeguards saw my son struggling to walk till our place, three of them put him in a chair and lifted him literally like a king to bring him. Do you really think you will get that in the UK?

        2. Poor education: remember that most countries got their independence only 50 years ago. Many children have to work for the family to survive. When my brother-in-law’s father died when he was 11 years old, he had to go to work to help his mum. His sister stayed at home to look after her siblings while his mum worked too. It was no different 50 years ago in Europe. Whne my dad failed 1 year at school, his parents’ friends begged them to give him a second chance. He was then first in the class even at Uni. When my mother’s grandmother fell sick, my mum was forced to repeat her sixth year at primary school even though she was first in the class so that she could still help at home.

        3. Treatment of women: there are enough shelters in the Western world for it to be a worldwide problem, not just a Muslim one.

  16. BintKhalil

    October 16, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Assalamu alaikum

    Bangladesh faces road death toll crisis – doesn’t sound all that dissimilar from Egypt.

  17. Youssef Chouhoud

    October 17, 2010 at 5:38 AM

    I agree with many of the points on the seriousness of this and related matters.

    Still, I’m from Egypt, where haggus (not the Scottish dish, but the Egyptian term connoting frivolity) is our national pastime and chief export.

    So I thought I’d inject some more levity into the discussion:

    The Difference Between Europeans and Egyptians

    :P

    • Muslimah

      October 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM

      LOL!

    • Zishan Malik

      October 18, 2010 at 4:17 PM

      This is hilarious. Actually it started out hilarious, and then turned into reminders of reality.

  18. Fulaan

    October 17, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    It’s not that bad, I just popped across Ahmad El-Zomor (three lanes boths ways) four times before Isha with a two year old in my arms and my 7-year old daughter holding my hand (I forgot to buy some feeno bread
    so had to cross back again.)

    All you need to do is find where the speed bump is as the cars have to slow down for that and cross on the speed bump (if you cross after it – it is harder as the cars are going different speeds and playing frogger
    with cars moving at random speeds after accelerating of a bump is difficult.)

    That and make eye contact with the drivers – traffic is heavy but is normally so heavy that they are not actually
    moving that first and if you make it clear that you are trying to cross, and avoid crossing in front of
    taxis, buses and especially microbuses, it is doable.

    As for pavements/sidewalks – walk down the middle of the road (we take a pushchair out and used to
    live off Abbas al-Akaad and Rabiya al-Adawiya – Rabiya was the only place where crossing was extremely
    painful. )

    Finally, if you have a choice, walk facing traffic – as you are less likely to get hit if you can see the car
    hurtling towards you.

  19. Shiraz

    October 18, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    First cab ride in Makkah for Hajj.

    We get in the cab from Alaziziyyah. Get onto Haram Road, cabbie hits the SUV in front of him. Both get out, our cabbie says your car is bigger you caused more damage to mine.

    Really liked the article. Seems to be the way things are in the Muslim world.

    But if you look at it, cars are a American/European invention, made for their own cultures. What the rest of the world is trying to do is take a American/European invention and import it directly to their own cultures.

    Don’t think the American Dream would work in Egypt.

  20. SudaniEclectic

    October 18, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    Brilliant post – I think it has deeper connotations though.

    Just looking at statistics, among the 20 top countries with the highest traffic mortality rate are Eritrea, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, UAE, Iran, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan, Chad, Jordan. (admittedly taken from wiki – though I dont think its too far wrong). Im sure Saudi is worse than them all though!

    Ignorance exists in many forms, its just that when someone gets behind a wheel the implications are felt in a more obvious way – people are maimed or die as a direct result. There is a link between the level of education/awareness and road mortalities.

    Everyone in Sudan has lost relatives due to some traffic related accident or other.

  21. Zishan Malik

    October 18, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    While the article above was hilarious. The roads are not as bad as the social condition that people face, and I would love to express the details but I also would like to return back to Egypt sometime soon and my comments could be disadvantageous.

    As bad as it is, people always say once you drink from the Nile you cant forget the place. Its true.

  22. n

    October 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    few comments:

    yes the ‘cairo ‘ driving is bad. however, there’s now ‘suburbs’ outside of cairo where it is WAY better. check out alrehab.

    Having said that, i want people to know that articles like this actually stop many western muslims to ever consider living in a muslim country.

    Well i want u to know that i live in egypt and i think its a GREAT place to raise a family. honestly. sounds weird i know. but u can build here your own little ‘american life’. its possible :-) there’s SO MANY foreigners here from the west raising their kids here.

    There’s great schools here mash’allah..not the mediocre education u always here about.

    to sister ameera khan, im from pakistan and i can tell u that pakistani driving iS WAAAAYYY better than cairo driving. for one, pakistan is not built like vertically. u can actualy breathe there. versus cairo ppl just build up and up and up.

    but now the’yre learning and moving OUT of the city. alhamdulillah.

    • Fulaan

      October 19, 2010 at 5:18 PM

      Which decent schools are you talking about? – I’ve looked around and I have not really been satisfied with anything I have seen.

      Some have good facilities (they seem to equate that a marble foyer and a swimming pool equals ‘good school’, same principle that the number of stars your hotel has when you are on Umrah depends on how much marble is in the reception) – but their idea of education is to pick up a primary school age child at 7am from your house drop them home at 4pm with a bag full of homework.

      The ‘international language school’ I saw where the majority of the subjects were taught in English
      did not have any native speaking English teachers – I suspect because they are comparatively expensive.

      If a ‘mumtaz’ wage for a female Egyptian teacher here is 1000 LE (pretty much what you pay in fees for an average Language school, per child per month) you can wonder where the money would go as most Westerners would not work for $200 a month here.
      I’m not convinced that the teacher would be focussed on teaching considering the escalating costs of living here.

      Where my children currently are (an immersion school / nursery for fusha arabic for foreigners) I am less than satsfied by the disruption and turmoil in the classroom complained to me daily by my children and am looking for somewhere more suitable for them – so suggestions would be warmly received.

      I am more than a little reticent that my children pick up the jobsworth culture here where the security guard will not open the door he is standing by when your hands are full of shopping as it is ‘not his job’ and most employees (be it in shops, government offices or metro stations) will do the least that is humanely possible to assist you (yesterday the checkout assistant asked me the empty the basket for her onto the counter – as it was ‘too high’ to reach into from her sitting position, they will also not bother to pass any drink bottles across to the packing area to you as I assume they are ‘too heavy.’.

      I don’t really want my children to grow up thinking that it is ok to just say ‘malesh’ opposed to pulling their finger out and knuckling down to what they are supposed to.

      The main (only?) advantage for children [and adults] (IMHO) here is Arabic, Islamic knowledge, masajid and hifdh and that outweighs a lot of the negatives (I would say if you came here focussed on obtaining knowledge and stuck to that it makes all the pain worthwhile) – but the pain of playing frogger every time you cross the road, being shuffled around 5 different desks when you try to renew your visa or trying to get a workman (or your teacher) to actually turn up on time and to actually do their job properly (work ethic or pride in one’s work is not something that I have witnessed – though job titles are popular) needs not be understated.

      The hygiene and organisation of daily life which you are used to in the West doesn’t really exist per se here and you waste a lot of time and energy in doing basic things instead – try walking with a pushchair down any road here – you spend most of your time carrying it up and down stairs, around parked cars (on the pavement) and trying to work out how to get across the next pile of broken blocks and stones.

      Rehab is fine – but it is a gated city away from the rest of Egypt – and whilst there may not be rubbish
      on the streets there and the driving is (marginally) better – the work ethic and jobsworthness is there and I still didn’t find any ramps for pushchairs there!

      • ummousama

        October 20, 2010 at 12:47 AM

        Assalamu alaikum,

        “The main (only?) advantage for children [and adults] (IMHO) here is Arabic, Islamic knowledge, masajid and hifdh and that outweighs a lot of the negatives”

        I would say that there are more advantages than that, but even only for that it is worthwhile. the first ayah that came to my mind when reading your answer was:

        أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُون

        whose meaning is:

        DO MEN THINK that on their [mere] saying, “We have attained to faith”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test? [Al-Ankabut:2]

        Hifdh: One of my daughter who was 10 years when we came here barely knew Juz Amma. My 7-year old now knows more than 3 Juz.

        Arabic: If you didn’t know Arabic before coming here, it is great place to learn.

        Islamic knowledge: I don’t go to Jumu’ah myself but I can tell you that my husband comes back refreshed most time he goes to Jumu’ah here compared to London where it doesn’t impact his eman.

        Masajid: Isn’t it nice to hear the adhan and for our sons to go to masjid for every prayer?

        Now, for the “chaos”:

        First of all, let’s remember that the path to knowledge is not a smooth one but a one with struggle and so in the path to Jannah.

        Visa: Alhamdulillah, renewing the visa only takes 2 mornings in a year. Even though it is insignificant compared to a whole year, let’s compare it to two foreign embassies:

        Visa: you hand in everything one morning. A week later, you get your passport back, wait two hours and come back. Tip: take new application forms with you when you go back home for next year. From my experience, it is 3 desks. Another tip: go early. Cost: LE 100 (if your kids are not in Azhari school).

        UK: You either go early, ask for a letter and then wait to pick it at the end of the day. If you are too late you pick it up the day after. Cost LE 400 if not more now.

        Belgium: You phone the day before or email them and you pick up the letter the day after. If you don’t phone them, you go there and you have your letter within an hour. Cost: LE 0.

        Appointments: You can put your foot down beforehand and, once you find a great teacher or worker, then treat them as your friend. As I read once in a book about Egypt, you have to friends to do business with Egyptians. It is not a “business only” attitude. Personally, I don’t bring teachers in.

        Native teachers: If you want native teachers, go to the British School and pay LE 50,000 a year. As for housing, it is expensive because we live in expensive neighbourhoods. Why not go and live in a place where you can buy a flat for £5,000?

        Schools: Like anywhere, you have good and bad schools. Good schools tend to be more expensive. Homework? Yes, but it depends on your children. I don’t bring teachers as I said and so my kids have plenty of time to do their homework. Then, they have the week-ends and the holidays to play. I also come from a non-English speaking European country and, as a child, we had daily homework too. We also had monthly exams and term exams. Remember though that schools ARE businesses here and they open to MAKE money. Education on a whole IS a huge business. From schools to teachers and books and centres, education equals money because Egyptians are ready to invest lots of money and are ready to sacrifice a lot for their children’s education.

        Material things: Go and live in Rehab if pavements and cleanliness is of utmost importance to you. London is not THAT clean anyway. Pushchairs? Use a sling instead or let your child walk. How do Egyptians manage without pushchairs? Adaptation is very important when you move to a foreign country.

        I will finish with two questions for reflection:

        1. Why do we, Muslims, expect our fellow Muslims to be perfect? Wasn’t surah Al-Mujadalah revealed about an incident occurring between the two greatest companions and in the mosque? And why are we ready, as Muslims, to disregard the imperfection of the non-Muslims? And why do we behave our best with non-Muslims and behave less well with our brothers and sisters in faith? (These are in fact a few questions but all going round the same theme)

        2. Why are we, Muslims, ready to sacrifice money and family in search of wealth or a better materialistic life and are we not ready to do so for the sake of our own or our children’s faith? Why are we patient in the first case and impatient in the second one?

      • F

        October 20, 2010 at 12:45 PM

        Ummousama,

        Why is that we as Muslims are satisfied with laziness and mediocrity? Why is that we justify such actions by saying ‘our aim is jannah so lets put up with as much garbage as we can.’

        When and where did Islam say that we need to make our lives as difficult as we can because supposedly that makes our path to Jannah easier?

        Why is it so hard to admit that Muslims in general lack work ethic? That we try to take shortcuts more than the non-Muslims. If there is a fault with something, London or Cairo, lets call it. Don’t let emotions get in the way.

        • ummousama

          October 20, 2010 at 4:29 PM

          Assalamu alaikum,

          I haven’t said I am happy with mediocrity. What I am saying is that: “If there are problems or delays in the UK about repairs for example, then we are patient. If the same thing happens with Muslims, then Muslims are bad, they are lazy and they love mediocrity.”

          You set the standards for yourself. Let’s take the example of the furniture for example. Everybody who has visited my house was stunned by the quality of the furniture. Why? When we arrived in Cairo, my husband and his friend visited lots of carpenters in Attaba. They looked at what they were doing, how they worked, … Then he stroke a deal with one of them. They put their conditions. So, the carpenter went SPECIALLY for us to Damiaat to choose the wood (he bought beech, i.e. high quality). When he brought the wood back to Cairo, he phoned my husband and asked him for his approval. Then he cut the wood and again asked for my husband’s approval before continuing. He then assembled the furniture and asked again for the approval. He painted then the furniture. Yes, it was a long process. But, after that first command, we can now ask him for anything. He knows our standard and he delivers it. If he was late for the delivery, he would phone and let us know why. For example, it is quicker to get furniture made in winter than in summer as, in summer, it takes ages for the paint to dry. He even treated the wood so that we wouldn’t have wood bugs as some friends had.

          So no, we do not settle for low quality but we ask the standard we want from people. You have to understand how people work and then you can get great ethics from them. Choose the people with ethics. And when you find them, reward them with some extra money or extra things.

          Now, why don’t we have the same ethics in the Muslim lands than in the West? Everything is driven by money. If people can get away with things, they will, whether it is in the West or the Muslim countries. When people don’t have money, of course, they will pay less for things which means bad quality. If you look at housing in the public sector in the UK, the quality is poorer than the Egyptian quality. Our house, only 10 years after being built, was sinking and there were some big cracks in one wall. A friend of mine had all her ceilings done again less than 3 years after it was first built because it couldn’t support the lifting rail for her disabled son (and the house was built for THAT purpose). They didn’t even offer her other accommodation during the few months it took to repair and she stayed at one of her friends’ house for the entire time of the works. Yet, I do not see people blaming the poor ethics of the UK like they blame the poor ethics here. BTW, I can give you countless of other examples. The real truth: wherever you live, you pay for what you get. Sometimes, you get cheated too but this is in every country in the world.

          Do you also think that the quality was the same 20 years ago in the West? The West is asking for better quality and so is the Muslim World. However, the West started 100 years ago while the Muslim World started 10 years ago. If we compare only the last 10 years, the West started at level 6 out of 10 and the Muslim World started at level 2. Yes, there is a gap and the gap will be there for a while.

          When and where did Islam say that we need to make our lives as difficult as we can because supposedly that makes our path to Jannah easier?

          I never said that. I am not a citizen of this country so I cannot rally people to have a change but I can influence the people around me. As for bureaucracy, you can in great part blame that on the French. Any country the French visited (i.e. colonised) is crippled with bureaucracy. France itself is crippled with bureaucracy. I don’t know it is still the case but, when I grew up, it was always private sector vs. public sector. If you were in the public sector, the image was of laziness, guaranteed employment, early retirement, probably 13, 14 or even maybe 15 months of pay. Lots of holidays, less working hours than the private sector.

          So, when I make a comment, I make it knowing indeed how four countries work: Belgium, France, UK and Egypt, with some hints about Algeria and the US too as my husband resided in both countries. The West is not rosy rosy, even business wise and Egypt is not black black, even business wise. I am not too young either as the first IBM-compatible PC was approved when I finished my master ;) It was about the beginning of a very well-known company in the IT industry that nobody can do without now and whose founder is one of the richest people (if not the richest one) in America.

          • F

            October 20, 2010 at 7:18 PM

            Umm Ousama,

            There is prostitution and homosexuality in Muslim countries but does that mean we say it equals the same level as that in the West? I would say no.

            Good and bad exist in all societies and countries but their percentages vary. So while there are bad work ethic people in the West and really hard working people in Muslim countries, unfortunately, and it doesn’t make me happy to say this we are on the wrong side of the coin here sister.

            It’s easy to blame the French and the US and what not and harder to look in the mirror and own up to our mistakes.

            We love where we live but lets try to stay balanced and objective.

          • ummousama

            October 21, 2010 at 8:12 AM

            Assalamu alaikum,

            F,

            I am far from saying that Egypt is perfect. Yes, there are many problems. My point is that: take the good of it, minimise the bad and make your impact to change it.

            My father worked as a consultant to improve the quality through management techniques from the early 80s to the late 90s. Thus, I know the big changes that have taken part in Europe. It wasn’t an overnight change.

            What made people change is the monetary gain they perceived they could make from it. America changed because of its culture of lawsuits. French people changed their way of driving when they introduced points on the licence. Egyptians put their lights on at night when the law was passed that they were going to fine people. When that law was passed, people used to say: “It will never work with the corruption there is”. It did work, masha Allah.

            Egyptians used to deal with Egyptians only. Now, they are dealing with Westerners too who are beginning to ask for improvement and thus, in time, insha Allah, things will improve.

            We can ALL make a contribution at our level. Complaining will do nothing to change as I doubt that Egyptians read MM. Advising will. Let’s give you an example. When my husband noticed a youth parking his car across three parking spaces, he went to him and started advising him. At first, he rejected the advice but then he took it and understood it and said: “You have changed my perception. I would like to invite my friends to meet you” And so they came a few days later for tea at home. One incident, at least one person changed. That was ONE incident.

            As for work, things will improve when people will realise that investing in quality means more money. Some things HAVE improved in the last five years. Allah, in His wisdom, took 23 years to prepare the Sahabah to be world leaders. Change won’t happen overnight. We have to be patient in the meantime and do our bit.

          • F

            October 21, 2010 at 11:51 PM

            Walaikum Assalam Umm Ousama,

            You are absolutely right that one day insha Allah, the Muslims will also have caught up on all the levels and rid our societies of the many grave ills that it has today.

            But it doesn’t change that we are in a mess right now. Yes, we live with it and try to make the best of it but it doesn’t change the fact that we are in a mess right now. Yes, we have other advantages that the society offers but alas, we are in a mess right now.

            Insha Allah, I make dua all of that changes one day, a day when we can all rejoice.

  23. n

    October 20, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Umm osama your answer is very much overal what I was thinking along the lines of.

    As for sister fulan, i have a thoughts i’d like to share:

    -Living in egypt or anywhere, your attitude will either make u focus on the negative or the positive. I know personally people whove had horrible experiences growing up in the US, hated it, got treated badly. so its d

    So a large part of your expeirence will depend on your own lense/attitude.

    Alhamdulilah my son goes to school later than you mentioned, and he comes home earlier. Thats also because we live close to the school alhamdulillah. I think his teachers are doing a darn good job. You may think a 1000-3000 LE is little money. and indeed in my opinion it is. but remember in egypt, people’s standards due to poverty and their situation are indeed different.

    Having said that, ive met several teachers at my son’s school and i felt comfortable alhamdulillah.

    have i had good and bad teachers during my education in the US and overseas? I have…humans are the same everywhere…at some level.

    My son went to teh same school last year and we’re very pleased. We’re pretty picky people overall and we did visit several schools before making our choice.

    I have attended schools in the US(public school) and over seas (private) and I feel that both myself and husband got a very decent education and given that background, we’re very pleased w/ the progress our son is making.

    We get tutors for our son and for myself and alhamdulilah they are very professional and always on time. :-)
    And ive had the same experience in the past. And All praise is due to Allah.

    As for your point about native english speakers, my sons school has egyptian teachers who in my opinion speak very good English. My son’s english is totally native and he’s doing great in english. Their english cirriculum is also American so they aren’t ‘behind’. Am i concerned about a slight accent .. not really honestly.

    Because can i send my child to public school or the mediocre islamic schools back home in the US and get the kind of education and services im getting. no way. and i know first hand from experience in one of the best islamic schools in the US and from public school.

    Am i going to leave egypt and the tons and tons of good it has to offer because they don’t have enough side walks…nope alhamdulillah :0)

    I got a tiny foldable stroller (i cant remember the brand..it would help u visually..but anyway) its been GREAT for egypt. we’ve gone EVERYWHERE with it.

    the travelling here is great.
    the people here are super friendly. they also have issues. to think that ppl back home have no issues would be naive. they have TONS of issues of their own. its only a matter of what we get used to. when i first went to teh US as a child, i can remember not being as welcomed as ive been here in egypt as a foreigner.

    its also about planning…alhamdulilah now in egypt theres alot of places for foreigners to feel ‘at home’. They also do cost money ..such as living in rehab. Is it worth it. COMPLEEEETELY.

    i know of two good islamic/americanish schools here that are very good and that parents are very happy with. I can refer you to them.

    but in the end, honestly i know people here for whom the culture is just super irritating so EVERYTHING irks them. they’re coming to egypt and accepting to land in australia. its really funy. its like didnt u research? didnt u have a purpose? why the extreme surprise?

    N

    • F

      October 20, 2010 at 12:50 PM

      N,

      Your response is much more balanced instead of blindly defending the land you are living in.
      Just like it’s hard to argue that someone who wants to gain knowledge in Cairo can do a MUCH better job than in London (though the secret police is still keeping a good eye on you in both cities), there is no comparison when it comes to living standards and other issues such as work ethic between people in the west and the Muslim countries.

      There is nothing wrong with admitting we have SERIOUS issues in Muslim countries related to the way we do things. But us being Muslim doesn’t somehow justify or get us off the hook for it.

      I believe your response was balanced.

  24. Youssef Chouhoud

    October 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    The past few comments brought up some really goods points. Here’s my take:

    i want people to know that articles like this actually stop many western muslims to ever consider living in a muslim country.

    I doubt that’s the case. If a post like this influences whether or not you make an international move, you probably weren’t thinking about it too seriously to begin with. Also, I think people get I was being pretty tongue-in-cheek with the article – right, people? :)

    At the same time, the problems I mentioned – some of which I exagerate, some of which are far worse than I let on – are real. People should know what they’re getting into before they come to a country like Egypt. As you yourself mentioned, some people touch down in Cairo and expect something comparable to a Western lifestyle and are shocked by what they see.

    Those who have a rosy view of life in a Muslim-majority country, who come here thinking that their problems will melt away as soon as they surround themselves with Muslims are in for a rude awakening. The only reason I’ve lasted this long is because I knew the stakes going in, and how to maneuver around the daily obstacles. Others should have the same mindset lest they grab the first plane back to the States.

    Which decent schools are you talking about? – I’ve looked around and I have not really been satisfied with anything I have seen.

    This is really my main beef with Egyptian society. The other things are more bothersome than anything – this is flat out worrisome. It’s one of the main reasons why my family and I are here now, which is the last chance to spend some extended time in Egypt before our kids start their formal education.

    The issue of teacher’s salary is one major reason why I feel the education is, overall, subpar. But the main issue is that the entire society has bought into the idea that the teacher is not suppose to teach the student until he understands the material – that’s the job of the private tutor. What REALLY gets me mad is when the private tutor is the teacher himself!! What a scam!!! I honestly have no idea how this understanding came about, but it needs to be remedied ASAP.

    Why do we, Muslims, expect our fellow Muslims to be perfect?

    We shouldn’t expect them to be perfect, but we should expect them to want to improve, as no one is perfect. The problem is that when certain habits get entrenched and become “3adi”, improvement falls by the wayside. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still hold them to task though.

  25. N

    October 21, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    I could never stomach public school. The plethora of aqeedah issues that arise by sending your kids to a public school would be madening to deal with.

    I can not imagine sending my son to a an islamic school where most kids are entrenched in the western junk from home..and bring that to school with them, while most others feel and somewhat rightfully so that they are in a ‘lesser’ environment compared to public school where their cousins and other freinds go…
    and at the end of it all..u realize yur living in a bubble. its not the real thing. u step right outside and its a different life than what yuv emersed yourself in in your tiny little mosque.

    here, the most amazing thing is that your doctor to your grocer to just everywhere else, yur mainstream. It really bothers me when people are stupid and display their stupid habits but u know what ive realzied…theres MANY decent people in egypt who are disciplined honest people and they also have to put up w/ the stupidity of their country men. so when i encounter stupidity, i speak up and guess what, im not told to ‘shut up’ and go home. I actually got a bit upset at a christian lady the other day for double parking me. And guess what, she didnt have any upper hand on me here. Back in the US, i knwo for a fact that i woulda been told off.

    I honestly don’t know what schools u guys have visited but egypt has some excellent schools. check out hayahacademy.org. My child does not attend that school and i have a few things that i dont agree with but other than that, it is an excellent excellent school. Just an example…

    My son comes home from school and he has learned the material. I don’t teach him from scratch. Same thing for my brother in law who does attend that school (hayah). He absolutely loves the school by the way , more than his public school back in a very nice area of california (shock).

    The issue that kind of bothers me is the mindset that the west ONLY somehow offers superior education. I’m sorry but that simply isnt’ the case.

    Yes its true that decent education in the muslm world COSTS ALOT. But it does exist.

    • F

      October 21, 2010 at 11:47 PM

      N,

      You are right. Good education exists in all parts of the world. But what the west has done is made it accessible to everyone regardless of their salary (at least on the grade level). So the fact that excellent schools exist in Egypt is not a surprise nor is it something to be proud of. Every country, no matter how run down, will have a few excellent schools that the rich send their kids to.

      • N

        October 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM

        F, you are right that what the west has done is make education available to all and that is definitely a huge accomplishment.

        My response was only in regard to people thinking there are absolutely NO good schools here. But there in fact are, and from different price ranges too.

        Allah knows best.

  26. Sarah S.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    This article *definitely* brought back memories… oh the memories, sigh.

  27. Fatema

    March 17, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    OMG!!! I’m crying!!!! LoooooooooL

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