Warning to female tourists thinking of marrying Egyptians

A word of caution for female tourists visiting Egypt: be careful of the many of the men working in tourist areas in Egypt.

Although the vast majority of Egyptians have a high sense of honor and good conduct, it seems that tourist areas seem to attract a relatively high concentration of people with lax morals, who would exploit tourists in many ways. It can manifest itself as persistent aggressive begging, peddling cheap goods, charging 10X the normal prices for services and goods, and what this article focuses on: exploiting female tourists.

Looking at the bulk of the comments on my notes on compulsory army service in egypt they are mostly from non-Egyptian women who married (or intend to marry) an Egyptian man, and army service has become an obstacle.

So, once you here the word "habibti" (meaning "my love" in Arabic), and before you call him "Habibi", let alone go down the marriage route, read on below for more information.

The exploitation happens in many forms, but is normally centered around one of the following:

Easy and Free Sex

Many tourists come from countries where sex is more freely practiced outside of marriage. Youn g Egyptian men working in tourist areas who
are not married see this as an opportunity, and are met with acceptance from the female tourists.

A source for Money

Many Egyptian men who practice this scam view the "wealthy" tourist as a source of income. They keep asking their "girl friend", "fiance" or "wife" for money for various excuses, just like a professional scammer would play a confidence game on a victim.

An Opporunity for Immigration

Some of those men want to get out of Egypt, and see their marriage as a way to gain residence and citizenship in a Western country. The economy in Egypt has been stagnant for decades, and poverty, lack of opportunity and the high cost of marriage lures some youth to trying these tricks.

Why it works?

There are several factors that work in favor of the Egyptian scammers here.

One factor that helps is that most Egyptian men look desirable to Western women, being of darker complexion than their compatriots. The fact that the foreigners are white blonds work in making the women attractive and desirable for Egyptian men.

Another factor is that the woman is coming to the tourist place to have a good time. It may be a break from stressful work or study, or perhaps a past relationship. This helps blind her to what is happening.

Yet another factor is the cultural differences which also create temporary blindness.

Moreover, those workers being away from their village or city of origin, where they would be observed by their extended family and friends tend to make it easier for them to engage in sexual relationships and scams without being scrutinized by acquaintenaces, and no stigma is attached to these behaviors.

Finally, the scammers have perfected their techniques over the years, and are very skillful at what they do.

Blacklists

Blacklists have emerged on the internet, to warn potential female tourists from known exploiters. These have all the faults of user contributed content on the internet in that they can be innacurate, biased, or even rigged by rivals or pranksters. However, in the absence of any other information, they can be useful, provided they are taken with a good deal of skepticism and research and common sense applied.

Happens everywhere, not only Egypt

Before someone gets the impression that Egypt is a cesspool, and Egyptians are crooks, let me say it is neither.

The problem above is not limited to Egypt by any means. Any country where tourists come in to spend money has its share of exploiters. The above black lists have a Turkish one, and a Tunisian one, and there are lots of stories about French, Italian and Spanish men exploiting women tourists as well.

Of course, there is also the Russian bride fraud targeting well to do men in the West.

So, the problem is universal, although this article focuses on female tourists to Egypt.

Final Thoughts

There are many non-Egyptian women married to Egyptian men happily, so over-generalizing from the cases mentioned, or from workers at tourist resort is wrong. Chances are you will be happy with an Egyptian as a husband if you met him in a more natural settings, e.g. while studying or working, and getting to meet his family as well.

The "artificial" environment in resorts, being on holiday, and surrounded by some scammers lend itself to the disasters described.

So, beware ... 

Further Reading

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Comments

I hope this works out for

I hope this works out for you, it can sometimes, but how big is the age difference? Children are important in a muslim marriage, I have two with my Egyptian husband Khaled, you can see my story above.

Hanan. (formally Anne)

Reply to - How can you tell?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but like you said "too good to be true". This respected man spoken highly of on TripAdvisor are not licensed travel agents. This is one con perpetuating another. Be careful!

How can you tell

This man that you are talking about, he seems from your words to be a decent muslim man. He doesnt want to take advantage of you or make you look indecent by being unmarried and living with a male (this is illegal here in egypt) . Keep in contact with him, and ask all the questions about what he expects from you when you visit. - does he want you covered head to toe in the abaya (dress) with face and hair covered from view? Are you to cook and clean for him? What about meeting family - this is different here in egypt than in western countries. Meeting family is way down on the list before getting married - maybe brothers and sisters but from what i understand (married to egyptian male now 7 years - happily) no parents until just before a wedding. Has he lived or his family lived in western countries before? you know things like that. always have an escape plan in place before you arrive. If you have friends here or know people that live here from internet make a plan with them just in case. Plus have your embassy/ consolate phone number programmed into your phone along with the address to the nearest one to you. Good luck with him. I hope you are very happy if things develop to a marriage stage.

How we met

I met my new guy when my boyfriend died. He came to Egypt every two or three years and had many friends. When my boy friend died it hurt me so badly, I was left to care for all his affairs. We were to marry, but now that will never be. I contacted his friends in Egypt to let them know my boyfriend had died. This man continued to stay in touch with me. After six months of letting me cry on his shoulder by phone he ask me to be his girl. He said It would honor his friend. He has never ask me for money. I will come to Egpyt for a visit this winter for two weeks. It does not feel like a con. But I will be careful.

Farid El Azazy

Anybody know this man...I would dearly love to believe that he is a honourable man...but reading some of these comments...are they all the same? He's based in Sharm...and very charming!

Re Farid El Azazy

99.99% of Egyptian men in Sharm are charming. No argument that these men are young and handsome. They will tell you that they are unmarried and poor and my crystal ball says that they are about to have a huge financial crisis in their lives and they hope you can help them out with this. Again - be careful!

Egyptian men

Hi just came across these blogs and thought I would add sure there is big scams going on in Egypt but also other countrys and this is a big lesson for all the women visiting Egypt trust yourself first. I do believe these men are assisting us in some way to become stronger and wiser as women and when you think about it we are loving unconditionally which is a beautiful gift at the end of the day it is our choice to give money or not we all have free will we just have to learn to trust ourselves and regonize when we are in the illusion and yes the men are clever there and and can be mis-trusting but who are we trusting at the end of day them more than ourselves my message is always trust yourself first and you have a choice wheather or not to give them money.Just don't fall into the illusion and let your mind be clouded when your compleatly in the love with these men.I myself have lived in Egypt and been going to Egypt for 11 years I love Egypt very much and the people there and I can say i'm fully in my power as a woman when I journey there you just we have to use our minds as well as our heart to embace Egypt.

Trusting yourself with Egyptian men

I don't think that it is a matter of trusting yourself when in a situation with an Egyptian man but more being aware of the red flags and how to recognise them. Women in many of these relationships can be very gullible and naive regarding Egyptian culture and religion. This is what gets them into trouble. They trust themselves and the men far too much without realising that so much happens behind the scenes - ie Egyptian wives and children exist in their men's lives more often than not. I have known Western wives in Luxor that have had no inkling of the "other" family and they are supporting them by giving money to their "husband".

Women visiting Egypt need to be aware that Egyptian men can have up to four wives if they can support them and with consent of the previous wives. Women visiting Egypt and falling for the charms of Egyptian men need to be aware that most young Egyptian men are married by the time the are in their late twenties. Sometimes the Egyptian wives are so well hidden that the foreign wives don't discover the other woman and family for many years and after generously spending much money on houses, cars and businesses to ensure that their man lived a comfortable life.

These women did trust themselves in these situations and their zero bank balances can confirm this.

Not culture or religion: it is the setting

The problem is not "Egyptian culture and religion" as you put it.

The problem is the whole tourist settings which is a manufactured environment focusing on tourist dollars. While most people working there are honest and hard working, there is a more than normal percentage of con-men among them who live off gullible Western women who seek cheap thrill then fall for the sweet talk. These men know the buttons to press: some promise love then ask for money because of crisis. Others do the whole marriage thing and get the woman to buy land or buildings in their name. Others seek visas. Many have other families.

They are away from their villages and close relatives and hence do not have the peer oversight that would normally be there. They have no shame and because the whole environment is manufactured and remote, their elders and relatives do not know what these men are doing.

The rest of Egypt is not like this at all. If a foreign woman knows a man in a normal setting, she would be able to know where they work, visit the extended family (father, mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, ...etc) and form an opinion. It would be hard to "hide another family" under these circumstances.

So, don't conflate "religion and culture" with the artificial settings of touristy places, specially the remote ones (Sharm El Sheikh, Hurgada, Aswan, Luxor).

Culture and Religion

I feel that you have misunderstood my message. Many of the foreign women who come to Egypt and get caught up in a relationship with an Egyptian man expect the relationship to progress as it would in their Western country an it does not. I speak from experience of many years as I am married to an Egyptian man.

Egyptian men in most instances are indoctrinated from a very young age to be obeyed by women. This attitude is prevalent in adulthood. It takes an educated and worldly Egyptian man to appreciate that a woman is his equal and not just a chattel and a means.

Some young Egyptian men see Western women as an opportunity - an opportunity for a better life, money and a visa and these men do not need to be in the tourist areas at all nor away from their families for it to become a scam. You really need to see this issue from the perspective of a Western woman in Egypt. Trusting yourself as a female visitor in Egypt is not enough. You need to be smart and informed. These men start young ie being approached by two 12 year olds in the Mohammad Ali Mosque and told that they loved me and wanted to marry me; being approached by two "bankers" barely out of their teens in the museum in Alex and being told that I was the most beautiful woman that they had ever seen and they would like to get to know me better. These places certainly aren't Sharm, Luxor or Hurghada. It happens all over Egypt. I personally know of instances where families of the Egyptian man have been hidden for the benefit of continuing a relationship with an English woman. The Egyptian wife was happy for the relationship to continue because it meant that there was always food on the table and the children were clothed. I also know of an instance where the family of an Egyptian man was fully aware that he married by Orfi an Australian woman purely to obtain money so that he would be able to marry his chosen Egyptian bride.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for the culture and religion of Egypt. To further my undersranding of Egypt I am also studying Arabic and Women in Islam. It is my perception that generally Western women who fall for Egyptian men do not understand the family dynamics of the Egyptian culture and they certainly do not understand the religion. These two elements have a great impact on the relationships in many aspects.

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