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“Beware of Egyptian Men,” says the Canadian Embassy

Back in December 2007, I was almost crucified for writing a post entitled: Relationshsips Warning: Do not date Egyptian Men. In that article, I said:

Because of the nature of my work in the tourism sector, I am used to hearing that this or that country has issued a travel warning to its citizens who plan on traveling to Egypt, especially in the aftermath of an attack. Naturally, most warnings address safety and security issues, and some warnings dedicate a section or two to hygiene and harassment. Lately, and because of the increasing number of divorces, custody issues, and domestic violence cases, some countries warn their women from Egyptian men. Yes, they tell them clearly not to get emotionally involved or legally committed to an Egyptian man!

Wandering Scarab - an Egyptian girl living in Canada – prior to her last visit to Egypt, decided to visit the Canadian Consulate website to register with the consulate in Egypt just in case her Canadian husband or her baby girl needed assistance with travel or local authorities. What she read on the site was appalling and ended up in her writing this post.

On the page specific to Egypt the first item displayed recent updates about major events in the country, like strikes and riots or disease outbreak, of which there was none for Egypt. So far so good. The second item displayed warning and recommendations where “EXERCISE HIGH DEGREE OF CAUTION” was in bold and highlighted in blue. I went on to read why the good people in the Foreign Affairs department think that I should exercise a high degree of caution. Among the many warnings, ranging from terrorist attacks and unexploded landmines to substandard medical care, there was this excerpt:

Women, particularly foreign women, are frequently subject to unpleasant male attention, sexual harassment, and verbal abuse. This often takes the form of staring, inappropriate remarks, catcalls, and touching. The Department publishes a booklet entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel. Its prime objective is to inform Canadian women and encourage them to travel safely.

There are reports of female Canadian citizens being forced into marriage without their prior knowledge or consent. Parents, relatives and the community may use relentless pressure and emotional blackmail, threatening behavior, abduction, imprisonment and physical violence to coerce young people to enter into marriage. While both men and women experience forced marriages, it is a form of violence most commonly perpetrated against women. They have been unable to return to Canada, and their passports and money have been retained by family members. Canada opposes the practice of forced marriage and urges all countries to respect their international human rights obligations relating to free and full consent to marriage. Forced marriage constitutes a human rights violation under several legal instruments, including international human rights law, to which Canada is a signatory.

The Wandering Scarab thinks that the fact that the Canadian government went though the trouble of creating and promoting such a booklet suggests:

a. they are not exaggerating about the warning, and

b. the incidents of harassment happen frequently enough that there had to be a public warning about them.

This is the first thing Canadian women learn about Egypt. How embarrassing and sad this is.

Trying to overcome her shock and sense of indignation, she was struck by a second clause:

Canadian citizens who were born in Egypt, or who were born outside Egypt to an Egyptian father, are considered citizens of Egypt. Consular assistance, if required, will be granted by the Egyptian authorities on a case-by-case basis.

In other words, because I have dual citizenship, Egypt has the right to refuse the assistance of the Canadian Consulate in the event that I need such assistance. Let me reflect on that for a minute… OK, so even though I'm a Canadian citizen, Egyptian authorities will treat me as an Egyptian citizen, which means that if something happens, I can be denied legal counsel, held without charge indefinitely, interrogated (tortured) in prison, and prosecuted in Egyptian courts.

How was this particular dilemma resolved?

After not much thought I did indeed register. However, I registered using my husband's name, since he does not have the Egyptian citizenship. I avoided putting my name on the forms like it was the plague.

In pursuit of my original cause; Egyptian men taking advantage of foreign women, I found Insteadi who is “a trailing Scottish bird in Cairo” who dedicated a post for the nature of the relationship between Egyptian men and foreign women.

I just read an interesting article from Egypt's Daily Star (nothing like the UK one!). It is about men looking for foreign (note they actually use the word ‘blonde') wives to finance them. I have seen this sort of thing time and time again here, with the foreign woman usually being a tourist when she ‘falls in love’ and not understanding that her beau could actually have ulterior motives. Why should she? He says such beautiful things to her, makes her feel so special, so wanted. He is so romantic (it's a shame she doesn't understand Arabic or she'd realize when song lyrics are being translated). Later comes the demonstrations that ‘he's not like that'. Frequently divorce is on the horizon. Soon after that, I don't know what happens with her, but he remarries: IT'S BUSINESS.

While I understand life in Egypt is tougher by the day, it surely can't be fair to enter a marriage you believe is for love, when the reality is that an entire family is plotting how to cajole you out of your money.

Words, beautiful or not, are cheap.

  • http://www.johnadamturnbull.com John Turnbull

    There may be some confusion about the right of a Canadian citizen (regardless of other citizenship) to have help from the Canadian embassy. The statement quoted, as I read it, says that the Egyptian authority may grant assistance to Egyptians. It does not say that the Canadian authority will not grant assistance to a Canadian.

    My understanding and experience suggests that the Canadians will always grant assistance to Canadians regardless of other citizenship they may hold.

  • http://www.tcluk.com Harry

    “My understanding and experience suggests that the Canadians will always grant assistance to Canadians regardless of other citizenship they may hold.”

    They will do, except when the dual national is in the country of their other nationality. In that case, the Canadian authorities are clear that you are under the jurisdiction of that country and they cannot intervene (as it is the internal affairs of their country involving one of their nationals).

  • http://www.dailymotion.com/Masrawy-Shabrawy Lewis Awad

    Let’s dig deeper of the problem it’s a Sex tourism or looking for a sexy, tanned skin, Egyptian Pharaoh Who is not exist in Canada!

    So ALL of US knew that travel to Hot touristic Spots looking for hot sunny holiday to return back at least with a tanned skin and special memories from a country Like Egypt which is a BiG Dream for most of people on the West to visit from childhood..

    Hot countries People.. HOT People in emotions, feelings , generous to give friendship and host a guest in their country WAW !!
    Look deeper to the women behave with Egyptian men???
    as long as the communication channel open for a conversation looking at , staring at , even for more from women side!
    Listen ALL it’s a really ashame to hear that “HIGH DEGREE OF CAUTION”

    Canadian Women Choice ! Canadian women naive! Canadian women stupid! Canadian women not wise enough And their BiG DaDy at the Canadian Empassy sending such a messages Telling them I’ll be always in your side my ” poor blondes ”

    Listen Up Relations between a Tourist and one of the Locals at the country you may visit in the future Poor Canadian women is for 5 Reasons:
    1- Money
    2- Nice time-Fun-SEX
    3- Canadian Visa
    4- Real Friendship ( who has long breath to keep in touch)
    5- Love happens ( as shit happens)

    • Ahmed

      Lewis, you have just said what i wanted to say.
      Also, if we looked deeper, for sure the article has a political inclination. simply how to stop the Arabian men flow to our country!!!
      the silly thing, is to believe that the foreigns human rights won’t be respected in Egypt. that was a joke.

    • Ashraf J. Aglan

      dear Lewis !

      there r always many ways to represent ones point of wie, i always tend to objectives.

      u can never come to a constructive understanding for such a topic with out paying a great attention for at the first place culture back ground as well as the pesonal social atiitude of both (for example) candian tourists and egyptian men

      sex tourisem takes place not only in Hurghada, but as well in many other places on earth starting from spain going through east Europe till south eastern Asia.

      As International Private lawyer, who is for this reason envolved in many legal disputes between tourists and locales, i must surprise u when i tell u that u will almost always find the reason for such inconvinient incidences on both sides

      I still remember Hurghada of the late 1980, where locales were almost so shy that they could hardely aproch touristes, now they turned to became so far dare.
      the Nummber of those dare ones is increasing to build the majority, that is to say to meet the increasing demand of the avrage female tourist comming to the place.

      one can hardly ignor the financial and the social climate of both parties if one wants to come to an objective conclussion.

      • Sherricallihoo

        I would have to agree with you, I am a Canadian woman who is to marry a man from Egypt very soon.  This does not say much of the women of our country?  Are we so naive and desperate for love that you will succumb to the woes of a manipulator?  We have men here that we much be cautious of so why travel to the other side of the world?  Love is love, plain and simple.  The man I am too marry is a proud and honourable man, these are but two of his attributes that I love.  I am intelligent and intuitive, which I am sure are positives that he loves about me.  There are situations such as what is tried to be explained on this site happening all over the world.  Sad that a country and its proud members be “penguin holed”!!

  • http://www.arabdemocracy.com arabdemocracy

    Thanx for bringing up this subject.

    It is not surprising that an official Website like that of the Canadian Consulate chooses to blatantly recycle cheap stereotypes about Egyptian men when the accepted image of the Arab male in the West is that of a ruthless sleezy macho cheat (please look up any Hollywood movie for similar negative stereotyping). While I have no doubt that some of us are, we would easily find inspiration from a number of wife-beating alcoholic cheating Canadians.

    The biggest insult in all this is to Canadian women who are far from being the naive silly airheads that would need such warnings.

    This warrants a formal complaint from Canadian women and Egyptian men. Unfortunately I am neither.

    Joseph

  • Kristina Bergmann

    I have been married to an egyptian and I am now divorced. I dont think egyptians are worse than other men, but after divorce of mixed couples problems are bigger. I stayed in Egypt and I guess I am the only foreign woman to do so. Or do you know others having stayed???

    • http://miloflamingo.blogspot.com Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

      There are quite a lot of women who have stayed in Egypt after divorces or being widowed. It all boils down to why you are in the country. Was it JUST because of a husband or because you enjoy your life here? I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

    • Ashraf J. Aglan

      Kristina !
      I know other foreign women, who styed in Egypt after being divorced, and i can tell that the reason why that happens are quite a nummber.

    • Marilou

      I kristina, I know it has been more than one year since your last post but I am a canadian who fell in love with an egyptian in Canada and now we wants to get married and go live in Egypt with me.

      I would like to ask you a couple of questions if thats not trouble for you.

      • American woman…

        For your safety and peace of mind dont marry this mAN. I married an Egyptian man after knowing him for over 1 year. We are both Muslim, although I am Of a European background. The last time I went to him in Egypt he physically abused me to the point I thought he would kill me and I would never return to NY to my kids(from a previous marriage to a Christian) again. I had thought before this that he was the most clean, God fearing man I had ever met? Yet, he has taken much money from me and hurt me so much and still he comes online to me everyday saying he loves me more than anything in this life? I find that I am very confused by him, knowing that abuse is never a part of love, but yet, I have allowed myself to fall in love with him, so what can I do now? I feel that maybe he has tried to use me for a visa to my country, although he always says he just wants to spend his life alone with me? But how do I trust his words when he has been online with other women since we married, and he is the one with everything to gain here, while I just wanted a man that really loved me?

        For your sake, get out while you can, before he breaks your heart. My husband tells me after my kids go to University we will move to Egypt to live, but this can all be part of his lies…after he has come to America he can then do as he likes?

        God help us women with pure hearts and right motives, we are the ones these men seek out.

        • Katherine

          The best thing you can do is cut all contact with this man. You can’t listen to what someone says without considering their actions, too. His actions speak much louder than words and if you stick around, he is just going to keep playing you. On top of everything else, you’re preventing yourself from finding a healthy relationship. It should be plain to see. Drop it now before he has the opportunity to do a lot more damage, and he will, if you don’t stop now

        • muslimgirl

          Hi, I’m not a Canadian, but I want to warn other girls who are planning to be in relationship with Egyptian man. I’m a muslim girl from an asian country. I’m open minded but I have good knowledge about Islam.

          I’m very sure there are good Egyptian
          men, but from 5 Egyptian man I know, 5 of the are cheater. Three of
          them are acquaintances and I had 2 past relationships with the other
          two.

          Here’s the summary of they have done.

          3 acquaintances:

          One of them used some girls to be local
          sponsor so they can stay in my country as long as they want. He took
          money from these girls, had sex with them, while these girls fallen
          in love with him (I got calls from these girls who were looking for
          him after he suddenly disappeared).

          One guy cheated from his fiancee in
          Egypt and was dating a Filipino girl in this country.

          Another guy cheated from his Egyptian
          wife and got married with a local girl so he can open a business
          here.

          My 2 past relationships:

          Before I witnessed all those crap
          above, I was engaged and in love with an Egyptian man. Three months
          before our wedding, I was pregnant. We continued to have a loving
          relationship until he left me in the altar when I was 4 months
          pregnant. He disappeared ever since.

          2 years after that I met a single
          father (divorced) Egyptian men. He’s a business man who try to expand
          his business in my country. Our relationship was the sweetest moments
          in my live and he taught me on not being afraid in being in love
          again. I loved him, I really did. He showed great affection to my
          baby and everything went perfectly. We planned our future &
          scheduled our engagement etc.

          One day I was cooking for him, and he
          was texting a Filipino girl saying that he promise her he will marry
          her & he convinced her that both of them are a perfect match.
          She’s a young single mother with 6 months old baby!

          He cheated on me when we were in our
          relationship peak. When everything was perfect.

          Only specifically Egyptian man, they
          have their own moral standard. Which is very different from other
          muslims and different from any other people around the world. They do
          not feel ashamed on themselves when they cheat, and some feel proud
          when they can get away with it (as if it’s an accomplishment).

          I discourage any of you not to emotionally involved with any Egyptian man. The success possibility to be happy with them is too slim.

          Cheers!

    • http://beware becca

      Im not trying to be nosey but im in love with a man from egypt and i have noticed that he gets a little moody and controling but not any worse than american men. did you divorce because he was mean and controling or just because you didnt want to be there anymore??? thnks

  • http://www.johnadamturnbull.com John Turnbull

    Harry’s right — if you present yourself as, for example, an Egyptian by using your Egyptian passport to enter the country, then you are an Egyptian. However, if you do what most dual citizens do and present yourself as a Canadian, the Canadian Government has the obligation — and the opportunity — to offer assistance. Nothing is certain, of course.

    This is from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada:

    “The Canadian government strongly encourages you to use your Canadian passport when travelling abroad, especially when entering the country of your second citizenship. Using your Canadian passport may provide the basis under which Canada can provide you with consular assistance if you run into difficulties. You should also obtain a visa, if that is required for entry by Canadian citizens, and always present yourself as a Canadian when dealing with local authorities.”

  • Amy

    Let’s be real here. Many of these foreign women going on sex tours supposedly looking for “real love” are a little over the hill, especially compared to their true loves… and that’s often with an “s”. A man in the West who is ten years older than a woman is often called a cradle robber. A woman who is 20 to 30 years older than a man is unheard of in the West. On top of that, many of these sex tourists aren’t exactly lookers either!

    • Ashraf J. Aglan

      Amy !
      I agree very far with that you said, only i would like to add, that some poeple mix between lets say “good” sex and the kind of emotional symptoms following after on the one side and the so called love on the other side.
      After all one can notice the difference simply on the simple fact, that love is that kind of emotion, under which one is still wantting that beloved even if she/he would once stink between the feet…. !

      • Samira M. (lanzt)

        Ashraf J. Aglan

        There are people that we have been loved, by someone who one day decides to board a plane.

        samiramh@live(dot)com

      • Samira M. (Lanzt.)

        Ashraf j. Aglan

        …Algunas personas, nos hemos sentido amadas por alguién, que un día, decidió coger un avión…

        samiramh@live (dot com)

      • Samira M. (Spain)

        Ashraf J. Aglan

        For me it was wonderful to feel loved, by a person who one day decided to board a plane.

        Sex tourism ….??? No.

        For me, it was love!

        samiramh@live (dot com)

  • http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/07/01/egypt-the-lollipop-and-the-flies/ nippysweetie

    I feel very sorry for women who are gulible enough and have such low self esteem as to fall for the wiles of unscrupulous men from any country.
    It is well known however that in countries less wealthy than ones own men and women can find partners of a degree of handsomeness and or beauty that they would never be able to find in their home country. This then is the litmus test!!! If he or she is better looking than anyone who would ever be interested in you at home then they are interested in your MONEY!!!
    Wake up and get real.

    • Alexiss

      Well, let´s not 4get that not all the fingers r the same size and lenght..

  • Maria

    each country has its own crooked men and genuine ones, just because some fun-seeking women tend to be blindfoldd by the loving expertise and flatterings of their fellow local fun-seeking men in egypt, certainly does not amount to drawing a highly strong and conclusive generalised perception about either of them!. so as much as we appreciate the concern expressed by the canadian embassy, lets all just keep in mind that stuff like that is bound to happen anywhere there is a neon signpost saying “fun”!.

  • http://egyptian-inneundos.blogspot.com/ Bedouin

    It is funny how you find such a vapid defiance of the slightest of women’s right to choose whoever they would like to be with by government a ‘support’ for your previous stereotyping of Egyptian men. it’s even sad that you claim being liberal or feminist.

    You make it sound like an organized crime nation roaming about in Egypt. as if women are brainless creatures with no responsibility whatsoever of what happens in their life. how are you different from macho prehistoric camels?

    • courtney

      you are wise..

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