Where Have Egypt's Belly Dancers Gone?

According to Farid, Egyptian society became more fundamentalist and "ready for the Saudinization" long before Saudi investment in the media.

"I know of an Egyptian pilot who proposed to a girl's a family, but insisted she wouldn't drive nor talk on the cell phone," said Farid. He contrasts this rise in conservatism in Egypt with recent calls in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women driving.

Millions of Egyptians work and live in Saudi Arabia, a large percentage of whom have adopted the Saudi way of living, socially and religiously, when they return to Egypt.

Women in Neqab, a full veil covering their faces, is a normal scene in the streets of Cairo. That was not the case 15 years ago.

"There is a belief among Egyptians that Saudi Arabia is rich because it is a religious country," Montasser said.

The strictly conservative Kingdom turns its eyes away from any sinful acts by its citizens, he said, as long as they are done outside their holy land.

"The Saudis pack the house in my show," Dina said, before adding, but "there are no more Egyptian belly dancers because the word dancer has become a taboo."

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