RealNews

Egypt's cultural shift reflects Islam's pull

With her long, dark tumble of glossy hair, sensuous lips and provocative stare, Hala Shiha reigns as “the Aphrodite of the Egyptian cinema.” Shiha’s embrace of the veil, a rising phenomenon among Egyptian women, is the most visible symbol of a conservative Islamic resurgence that is sweeping across Egypt. But it is not the only one. During the past 30 years, a conservative Islamic revival has been quietly transforming the nation’s culture and society, forcing Egyptians and their political leaders to engage in an increasingly difficult balancing act between mosque and state. The result is a nation that daily is becoming less secular. That such a thing could happen in sophisticated Cairo, once the Middle East’s cosmopolitan Hollywood on the Nile and heart of Arabic publishing, portends a cultural trend that could sweep through moderate Arab nations and set them on an even more anti-Western tilt. Full Story

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