French Muslims who swap 'heathen' France for Egypt

By Adama Sissoko

They are French, Muslim and living in Egypt. Several hundred Salafists from France have chosen to live in this “Islamic land” because they no longer wish to stay in their country of origin, a “land of disbelievers” or heathens where they feel it has become impossible to practice their religion as they wish. They are not jihadists and have come to Egypt in search of their Islamic identity. Yet for many this is proving harder than they thought. Adama Sissoko reports.

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Cairo, from our special correspondent.
In El Tagamu El Khames, an outer eastern suburb of Cairo known as the Fifth District in English, you find dirt roads where unpainted buildings alternate with others painted orange or yellow. Just a few metres further on, beyond the rubbish bins where stray cats forage, there are chic villas. The neighbourhood has become a haven for ultra-observant French Muslims who make a Hegira or migration to an Islamic country so as to practice their religion just as it was practised at its origins.