Date of Award


Document Type



Politics and International Relations

First Advisor

Dr. Curry


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal

While sitting in the living room of my upper-middle class Muslim Egyptian host family, settling down for the evening, the mother of the family pulled out a shoebox and sat down next to me, clearly indicating it was time for me to put away the homework and learn an authentic lesson about Egyptian culture. Inside the shoebox were photos of her family over the decades, some dating even back to the 1930s. What appeared striking to my limited perspective was that in pictures all the way through the 1960s, the women were all wearing sleeveless dresses and attending what looked like cocktail parties. Also noticeable was the fact that the city was clean, and the traffic appeared orderly in every picture. In response to my surprise at the foreignness and beauty of the Cairo I saw in the pictures, she placed her hand on her heart and uttered the words that have inspired much of the research that follows: "Kara, my heart mourns the Cairo that uneducated fundamentalists have robbed me of."