While visiting a beach in Egypt I came across this strange site. The contrast of it struck me., so I snapped the photo.
This was taken in the National Park of Ras Mohammed at the very southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. This is a very popular place for tourists in the area, bringing a diversity of people together and these unique photo ops.
Egypt is an Islamic state. More specifically they are mostly Sunni Muslims. As such, they can be very conservative people in their customs and their dress. But not all.
Sunni women have different beliefs regarding what must be fully covered in public. But in the most conservative form, only their eyes may be exposed. I expect it's because they at least need to walk.
I make sure I never look at these women in the face as I think it is forbidden. I really avoid offense if I can. I'm not sure how they feel about being photographed, but c'mon, how could I resist a picture like this?
The contrast between the scantily dressed woman and the Sunni Muslim is just too much to resist not documenting. Anyway, the woman never knew I snapped the shot. I only hope she never sees this blog! (Not much danger there!)
But is it really ok to photo Sunni women? I'm really not sure. I came across this in my search on the subject. Something quoted from a prophet of Allah:
"Those who will be most severely punished by Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers."
Some interpret that as a person who takes pictures. But, with my familiarity with the Christian counterpart found in the Ten Commandments, this is regarding a graven image and false gods. It's hard to reconcile this with picture taking.
Regardless, I found it very strange this woman would be found on a beach with people exposed like the bikini woman. For that reason I felt justified in taking the picture. I mean, she didn't seem to find offense with her surroundings. How conservative could she be in her views? So I chose not to take the most conservative interpretation of picture taking.
But I really don't know. Maybe I was wrong?