Katarzyna Górak-Sosnowska i Maciej Klimiuk
Uniwersytet Warszawski i Szkoła Główna Handlowa; Uniwersytet Warszawski
Unofficial marriage (Arabic nikah ‘urfi, zawag ‘urfi) is an innovation used primarily in Egypt. In view of the high cost of marriage, ‘urfi’s role is instrumental in religiously legitimising a relationship. At the same time it is a step to enter the true, i.e. official, marriage. The ‘urfi institution has been applied over the last few years to relationships between Western female tourists and local men within so-called sex tourism or romance. The article analyses ways of understanding and perception of ‘urfi marriage by Western female tourists. The source material consists of the women’s online posts on forums devoted to intimate touristic contacts between European women and Arabs. Several types of the narrative can be specified, such as the partner’s sexual potential, urfi as the tool of discrediting Western women engaged in the model, legitimacy for having sex, or impure intentions of habib (‘lover’). Family affairs are of minimal importance in the discourse, which emphasises instrumental nature of the relationship.
Keywords: romance tourism; Egypt; urfi; marriage