There are two separate issues in the article as I see it, and the unfortunate part is that they have melted them into one... Well, and they made the return to practicing Islam in my generation of Egyptians seem like a bad thing.
I agree that the two main ideas that marriage is being blocked for many young people in Egypt and that many of the same generation are returning to practicing Islam are both true. BUT BOTH THINGS OCCERING DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE RELATED!!! Ugh. What's that they teach you in science about a positive correlation not always indicating cause and effect?
It is my opinion (since I can say that I have seen my DH's & SIL's friends all who married at a "normal" age) that there is no reason to believe that only people who don't get married are becoming more religious. All the people my DH grew up with are more religious now as adults. Most of them are more religious than even their parents, I know my DH and his younger sister are. I think that Egypt is just experiencing the normal swing of the pendulum when it comes to expressing your faith and practicing your deen. Now, I am no sociologist... But it seems like that is a natural thing in societies. We go from one extreme to another, and when the government came down hard on the brotherhood of Islam in Egypt it forced the pendulum to swing towards a very secular type behavior. Now, some of that has gone away and we are seeing people coming back to Islam for a variety of reasons. I don't think you can pinpoint it... For this guy maybe it's culture, and that girl it's political, and then that guy see's it as reclaiming something of his identity lost while he was young... Who knows. But to put it in such simplistic terms is well, being simple (which in this case means stupid).
I guess that I have a knee jerk reaction to these articles because on a gut level I feel like the implication is that Islam is for losers and if you were happy in your life you would never turn to this "extreme" religion. You'd just be happy like all those "moderate" (in this case I mean non-practicing) Muslims out there professing your Muslim identity and doing nothing different in your daily life because of it.
As usual, just my two piasters on the subject.
***Edit 2/19/08*** I read the article to DH and he had some thoughts. Mostly he wanted to say that not getting married until you are older does lead you back to the religion... Because that is what is at the heart of avoiding fornication. The longer you wait to marry the more opportunities you have to become sexually active and the more tempting it becomes. So, you focus on the salat, you fast you do dhiker. Basically you try to keep your mind off of this temptation.
He also mentioned that of all the things that are tempting this one is the worst, because it is a God given instinct and unlike drinking and other things that you might do in college this one could be legal under the right circumstances.
Finally, he and I have always talked about trying to be sure our children DON'T wait until their 30's to marry.
Anyway, just wanted to share the thoughts of an actual Egyptian male who DID wait until he was about 30 to marry... *WINK*
I am a mother to four wonderful kids and the wife to one wonderful Egyptian! We live in a small town in the Midwest and work in our small businesses. I am also a Waldorf preschool teacher and childcare provider, a backyard chicken lady, a part time homeschooler, and a generally crunchy mama (think hijabi in birks).