A Mormon in Cairo

After graduating from my MA program in London, I moved to Cairo, Egypt to improve my Egyptian Arabic. I didn’t know a soul in Cairo before I moved there, but I wasn’t scared at all. Why? Because I knew that the Arab culture is incredibly inviting and hospitable, so I knew I would make many friends instantly. Also, a further comfort is that I knew the small Mormon population would help me get settled and feel at home.

Mormons in Egypt

As of 2010, it was illegal to preach any religion that is not an official national religion, which are Islam and Coptic Christianity. So, naturally, there aren’t many Egyptian members of the Mormon church. There is a bustling small congregation (called a ‘branch’), however, full of foreign expatriates who work for charitable or government organizations.

This is one of many fun mid-week Relief Society activities that were held at the church or in sisters' homes.

Once a week, the young single adults in Cairo were invited to a member’s home to study the scriptures and get to know each other better. We did not only study the Gospel, but also share our many amazing experiences living in Egypt. And let me tell you, there were some cool stories.

The branch consists of French, Canadians, British, Americans, South Americans, Asians, Africans, Sudanese, and all kinds of other nationalities. The branch meets in a little unmarked villa whose doorman is a kind, pious Muslim who I got to know well as I often went to the church during the week to practice piano.

Egypt is full of humble and gracious people.

Friday Sabbath

The official day of the Sabbath in the West in Sunday. Because Friday is Islam’s holy day of the week, our church too met on Fridays. While sacrament meeting and relief society/priesthood were held in English, a special Arabic Sunday School was held to teach Gospel principles. We also studied the Book of Mormon, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, including Arabic.

I loved my experience in Cairo. I loved the Cairo Branch, which welcomed me with open arms. I also loved my fellow Muslim and Coptic brothers and sisters, many of whom would invite me into their homes for a delicious meal, even if they’d just met me.

My LDS friend, Jill, and her kids ride the women-only car on the train.

During my time in Cairo, it became even more clear to me that we are meant to love one another, just as Christ taught, no matter who people are or what they believe. I felt Christ’s influence through Mormons and non-Mormons alike, which, in turn, only strengthened my testimony that He is the Redeemer of the world.

About Hayley

Hayley is a teacher who enjoys film editing, Arabic, and writing. A world traveler on break, she is trying to work off student debt. She is a recovered bulimic and believes that God has provided us with amazing resources to overcome addiction and manage mental illness.
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7 Responses to A Mormon in Cairo

  1. Teppo says:

    Hayley, that’s really interesting. It makes me want to travel to Egypt! Was there anything that stood out that you learned from your Muslim and Coptic friends and acquaintances?

  2. Matthew says:

    As a former Cairo branch member, the branch there is among the best in the world!!!!! My family and children absolutely loved it. There is a wonderful Cairo branch alumni page on Facebook. Just an FYI, and wish Hussein well. We attended his daughter’s wedding.

    • Richard Fisher says:

      Matthew, if you see this, what is the FB page for the Cairo Branch Alumni? I can’t seem to find it. Thanks.

  3. Sheila says:

    So happy to read your blog about Cairo! We are church members (Idaho) and are travelling to Egypt next month by cruise ship. I was hoping to maybe find some members there that might be interested in us hiring them for a two day guide from the port of Alexandira to Cairo to see the sights. I’m having a hard time finding information on who to contact for the Branch President. Would you happen to have any contact information or know anyone there that might be interested? I would trust and rather pay a member of the church to take us around.
    Thanks for any help!
    Sheila

  4. ANDREA says:

    I GO TO TRAVEL TO EGYP I LIKE TO KNOW THE OTHERS MEMBER OF CHURCH AND KNOW THE CHAPEL

  5. Deb says:

    There is this man in Cairo named, Alex, who has an abcess (sp?) in his mouth and he’s becoming very ill. The hospital will only treat him if he gives $1,000 or 760 pounds which we, in the States, are trying to save up. This is very serious and we need help ASAP. We were wondering if anyone had contact info for any of the memberes in Cairo who can contact Alex and help him find better and less expensive treatment…basically be treated by an oral surgeon instead of a hospital. WE’RE NOT ASKING FOR MONEY JUST TO HELP HIM FIND BETTER TREATMENT. He’s 22, has lost his job recently, and is really struggling. His phone number is 011 20 122 0880749 and the woman you can contact is Erika: 801-310-2178 with any info about contacting these wonderful members.

    Thanks!!!

  6. Richard Fisher says:

    I spent a year in the Sinai (94-95) and went to the Cairo Branch whenever I could. It was one of the best Church Groups I have ever encountered. We would stay at the Branch President’s Villa and were always welcome.

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