Lina Al Tiby, a Syrian activist living in Cairo, runs a support network for Syrian women refugees; helps them adapt to life in Egypt; and tries to persuade them not to allow poverty to push them into sex work or unwanted marriage.
Arriving in Egypt with little more than the clothes they are wearing, some Syrian women see marriage as the only means of survival.
“Egyptian men tell Syrian women they will marry them to help them and their families, but… can’t these men help Syrian women without marrying them?” said Al Tiby.
They tell the Syrians that if they marry them they will take care of their needs, a trend encouraged by certain preachers who encourage Egyptian men to marry Syrian refugee women, describing this marriage as a kind of jihad (Arabic).
Such statements have been criticized in Egypt: The Egyptian National Council for Women Rights (NCWR) issued a statement this month saying the marriages were “crimes committed against women under the guise of religion” (in Arabic).
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says 14,375 refugees and asylum seekers from Syria are registered with them in Egypt. At the end of November 2012, the Egyptian government estimated the Syrian community at close to 100,000.
There is no estimate of the number of Syrian women who have married Egyptian men, but Syrian refugees told IRIN the number is on the rise. A similar trend is happening in Jordan.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
Syrian refugee women exploited in Egypt
How People Arrived Here:
Category: Middle East