Thursday, 1 January 2009


[Cairo, May 2008.]

This is an Egyptian leaning out of Banque Misr. I took this from the balcony of the hotel I was staying in across the road on the fifth floor. 

A few doors down from the hotel was a mosque and a Coptic church. You can see the mosque reflected in the bank's windows. 

This combination of a bank and a mosque reminds me that Islamic law (Shariah) forbids usury. The Qur'an: "Those who charge riba [usury] are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence." Furthermore, Muslim banks must not lend money to individuals or organisations that are contrary to the laws of Islam. 

Instead of charging interest, Muslim banks work with other systems, like profit sharing. The Wikipedia page on Islamic banking lists the methods they use.

Two hundred metres down the street (in the same direction the banker is looking) is the intersection named after the founder of Banque Misr, Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb. In the middle of Medan Talaat Harb is a statue of the man himself.

[Medan Talaat Harb, Cairo, May 2008.]
Click on this photo to see a cat sitting under the statue. Even from the pavement I could hear it meowing. Occasionally it would try to get across the road, then sit back down in the shade. I presume it had slept there the night before and woke up when the traffic was too busy to escape. I thought about rescuing it, but the stray cats in Cairo were very shy of humans.

Just below my hotel was a take-away kebab shop. The lamb is cooked outside and several stray cats hang around waiting for scraps. One night I came back drunk and asked the man in charge of the rotisserie to sell me some meat for the cats. He took a few pounds from me and went inside for a receipt for the purchase. As I was feeding the cats a guy passed saying, "You are very kind," in broken English.

The Egyptians are very kind to cats. I wondered whether this was part of their ancient history. However, I discovered that it probably has more to do with more recent world history. In the Qur'an it tells of how a cat fell asleep on the Prophet Mohammed's cloak. Instead of waking it up when it was time to move, the Prophet cut a circle in his cloak around the cat.


Anonymous 2 April 2013 at 23:00:00 GMT+11  

It's genuinely very complex in this active life to listen news on TV, thus I only use world wide web for that purpose, and get the most up-to-date information.

Here is my site :: diet that works