Unmarried, Frustrated, and Turning to Islam

More in Middle East heal economic pains with religious fervor
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 17, 2008 6:10 PM CST
Egyptian women wearing the niqab, the Islamic full face veil that leaves only a slit for the eyes, chat at the River Nile bank in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, June 14, 2007. Frustration with their situations...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Facing a feeble job market, many Middle Eastern youths can't afford pricey marriages—and end up single, frustrated, and devoted to Islam, the New York Times reports. Several countries are trying to stem the religious tide by funding weddings, but thousands are left unmarried and isolated. “People don’t help you,” a single Egyptian woman said. “It is only God that helps you.”

“The whole country is taken by an extreme conservative attitude,” one analyst said of Egypt, which has long fought religious extremism. In 1986, the country had one mosque per 6,031 people; 3 years ago, despite a doubled population, there was a mosque for every 745. With more than half of the Middle East's population under age 25, the region faces a wave of disenfranchised people who may vastly favor religious over political and social concerns.