As the September 1st deadline for the merger between Egypt and Libya approaches, concern is mounting in Cairo about the effect such a union could have on Egyptian society.
GV Nasser's Mosque
SV Motorcade arriving at mosque
SCU Gaddafi and Sadat out of car
SV Sadat and Gaddafi into mosque and seated on floor
GTV Cairo square outside Hussein Mosque
SV People entering mosque barefooted
SCU Man removing shoes
SV PAN Barefooted man enters mosque with others
SV & GV People pray outside mosque
SV PAN Mini-skirted tourist
SV Young girl tourists on camels
SCU Tourist views sites from camel
CU Camel past camera with tourist on board
CU ZOOM OUT ON Beer bottles (2 shots)
CU Waiter serving beer in restaurant
CU Woman drinking beer
SV People at table
SV Belly dancer at wedding
SV EXT Nightclub signs
SV Nightclub entrance with Arab entering in traditional dress
CU Roulette wheel at Cairo casino (3 shots) and game in progress - blackjack
GV ZOOM IN ON Blackjack table
SV Nightclub audience watching strip performer in feathers
Initials BB/1715 CG/JB/BB/1854
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Background: As the September 1st deadline for the merger between Egypt and Libya approaches, concern is mounting in Cairo about the effect such a union could have on Egyptian society.
The 31-year-old Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi is a fanatical Moslem and although most Egyptians share his religion they are not prepared to interpret the teachings of the Koran as literally as he does.
The Libyan "Cultural Revolution" and the "Back-to-Islam" movement have brought changes which would not be welcome in Egypt. All previous legislation has been suspended in favour of a strict interpretation of the Islamic Dhiria, the law of the Koran. This allows for the amputation of a hand as punishment for thieving and the public stoning of adulterers, although there is no evidence so far that such severe punishments have actually been imposed.
The Moslem faith forbids alcohol in any form but in Egypt where the fait is liberally interpreted, the number of beer drinkers had doubled in the past ten years. Egypt produce forty million bottles of beer annually for local consumption and exports another ten million. In Libya, alcohol is prohibited.
The tourists who flock to Cairo and the many sophisticated people who live there enjoy an active night life. There are cabarets, dancing, gambling casinos and strip clubs. Such entertainments are severely frowned on by Colonel Gaddafi and any attempt to curtail their business would certainly rebound on Egypt's thriving tourist industry -- a hard cash earner.
All nightclubs in Libya have been closed and the roulette wheels at the casinos of Tripoli and Benghazi have long since stopped spinning. But Colonel Gaddafi's puritanism also extends to traditional Arab entertainments -- Libya is probably the only Arab state where belly-dancing in banned.
Colonel Gaddafi would like to see all women heavily veiled and confined to their homes, but such views are anathema to the emancipated women of Egypt. In July, the Libyan leader drew some acid criticisms when he told a meeting of women in Cairo that their sex had certain "biological defects" which handicapped them for a professional career. He denounced the idea of equality between men and women as an imitation of Western ways which could lead to the dissolution of the family, as it had done in Western societies.
Libya's attitude towards Christian churches is also viewed with concern in Egypt, where there is a large minority of six million Sceptic Christians. A Western diplomat with an extensive knowledge of Libya says that only three of the 25 churches have survived. Some have been converted into mosques.
Sectarian rivalry in Egypt has resulted in clashes in the past and any attempt to make Islam the state religion, which Colonel Gaddafi wants, would almost certainly result in more sectarian strife.
Libyan worker committees have taken over universities, the information media and other institutions. And colonel Gaddafi has intimated that Egypt would also benefit from such a shake-up. In one of his marathon confrontations with the Egyptian press in Cairo, Colonel Gaddafi suggested that Egypt should follow Libya's example and start clearing out the books of what he called foreign orientalists. Book burning marked the opening weeks of the cultural revolution in Libya and such authors as Sartre, Baudelaire and Graham Greens were among those which piled up in the special "room of judgement" at Tripoli university.
The Libyan leader's insistence on spreading Libya's cultural revolution has emerged as the major stumbling block to union as far as middle-class Egyptians are concerned. But they must decide whether moral compromise would be too great a price to pay for a larger share in Libya's oil wealth.