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Alexandria, Egypt: From Little Paris to Islamist Stronghold
Even as recent as the 1970s, Alexandria, Egypt, known as "Little Paris" of the Middle East, was as European and cosmopolitan as any in Europe. The beaches were packed with people and women did not fear wearing a bikini or even a more modest "western" bathing suit. Women were not afraid to wear short dresses or skirts as they strolled to spend a day sunning at the beach. Shopping for clothes and make-up did not require a second thought. It was as close as one could to Europe without being there. Alexandria was home to legions of Europeans and Jews, five languages and five races. Ex-patriots recall having guitars and singing Beatle songs at a beach party, drinking and carousing. Today, you will see this sort of attire only on tourists that the locals dislike but for the revenue they bring in. Even alcohol is forbidden except in hotels that cater to infidel tourists.
The Islamist way of life began to creep into the local society in the mid to late 70s, and today, women go to the beach wearing not bikinis but covered head to toe black niqabs with only a slit for the eyes being exposed. No suntan cream needed. Even at the university, women are covered. The dress or short skirt, or any skirt, has vanished out of fear. Most of the Europeans are now long gone and more fundamental Islamists have taken over the city and home to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists who adhere to austere Saudi Arabian brand of Islam. For women, the bikini, skirt, blouse, dress are relics from a recent past.
Alexandria's, Mohammed Eissa, the city's top Muslim leader predicts that Egypt will soon return to its Islamic roots once elected into office. This may not happen this year, but soon. The bulk of the four million inhabitants are Muslim and most are poor, not the same class of people when Alexandria was European. One third of them have no basic utilities and 19% live on $3 a day. Now, only about 11 Jews live there. Eissa indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood got established in the city by first providing social and medical services to the poor, from there, they promoted the Islamic way of life and dress. Like a cancer, it consumed the population and drove out the infidels.
What the old timers worry about is also worrying American authorities. Will Egypt now slowly turn into another Islamic democracy or worse, like Iran? or, will Egyptians not allow the Muslim Brotherhood do what they did to Alexandria, to Egypt?
Look no further than Alexandria.