’90 Day Fiance: The Other Way’ — Mahmoud El Sherbiny’s Rage Fit Explored – A Look Inside Egyptian Culture
Cultures collide in the Season 4 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way Tell-All. Things got quite heated with Mahmoud El Sherbiny and co-star Gabriel Paboga “Gabe” after he challenged his clothing restrictions for his wife Nicole Sherbiny. Attire has been the main area of contention in Nicole and Mahmoud’s storyline.
Nicole, a fashion business owner from L.A. fell for the store manager enough to convert to Islam and move to Egypt. Gabe, who owns the GMPwear underwear brand for trans men, had opinions about their relationship.
He brings up the fact that Mahmoud insists Nicole be conservatively covered. Mahmoud didn’t justify his actions much at the Tell-All but reacted more in frustration and name-calling. Taking a closer look at Egyptian culture might offer a little more explanation as to why Mahmoud is so strong in his convictions.
Gabriel Paboga Defends Nicole Sherbiny in Explosive Argument
During The Other Way Tell-All there is a brief interaction between the two men that escalates quickly. Gabe starts by asking Mahmoud, “What if you have a daughter? Are you going to force her to wear a hijab?” Mahmoud seems irritated and explains, “Islam [does] not force anybody to cover his body or wearing hijab.”
Gabe then pivots his criticism to Mahmoud’s rules about Nicole’s clothes. His response is “I’m her husband, and this is between her and me. It’s not your business.”
Gabe further presses Mahmoud about being controlling at home as well. Gabe calls him an “idiot,” making him even more frustrated. He takes off his filming equipment, exclaims “I’m done,” and walks off set. Mahmoud also yells at Gabe, “Shut up, a**hole.”
During the season we have seen Nicole and Mahmoud talk many times about the importance of modestly in clothing. This is really a non-negotiable for the Egyptian-born reality star. He has also explained many times to his wife that he feels so strongly about this directly because of his Muslim faith.
90 Day Fiance: A Little About Mahmoud El Sherbiny’s Egyptian Culture
Gabe, along with fans, can’t believe the restrictions Mahmoud is putting on Nicole. But this is coming from a very westernized viewpoint where clothing is seen as a form of freedom and self-expression.
I consulted with a source well versed in Egyptian culture. According to them, Mahmoud’s lifestyle (neighborhood, apartment, English fluency, and job) would be considered lower financial class.
Children from a middle class and up are going to become fluent in English. This is because anyone who can afford it goes to European-led private school. It is possible that Mahmoud Sherbiny never even finished above the 6th or 7th grade. This could explain, not justify, his lack of communication skills with Nicole.
A family with a humble background has higher levels of conviction to religion. Classification and separation are extremely prevalent in Egypt. It is also very difficult to elevate the status you were born in to. So, Mahmoud’s place in society was set in stone from the day he was born.
Usually, the more money you have the more westernized and less religious you are. This would shed some light on why Mahmoud, being of lower class and very religious, would keep with strict and traditional clothing.
The wealthiest of Egyptians are splitting their time between Egypt, Europe, and the US. An Egyptian woman who has been granted the ability to be westernized can dress much like how we saw Nicole Sherbiny in L.A. In fact, Cairo is so progressive that people from other Arab countries go there because it’s much more accepting.
In the summer, its Saudi Arabia 2.0 and many Saudi Arabians, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, etc. have second homes in Cairo because it is far less restrictive culturally. Cairo would have been an ideal compromise for Nicole and Mahmoud. However, it’s doubtful Mahmoud Sherbiny would have been ever able to afford it.
90 Day Fiance: Religion & Money in the US
The connection between religion and economics have been very present throughout history. There have been many studies about this in US as it is both a social and cultural phenomenon. Religion and economics are intertwined so often in society.
There is a long tradition of devoutly motivated poverty, but also, giving to the poor is often seen as a godly duty. Not to mention, religion and money are a prevalent topic with many couples from 90 Day Fiance.
In a study by independent research Dr. Tom Rees published in the “Journal of Religion and Society,
It makes perfect sense that lower-income individuals would hold stronger religious beliefs than their higher-income counterparts.
The Other Way: Converting Religion a Cultural Fail?
In the US there is much conflict between lawmaking and strong religious beliefs. Though clothing is not an area that comes up in many religions, many see the ideologies that come with religion in the US as oppressive, antiquated, and illegal.
While Nicole Sherbiny converted to Islam, she remained much very ingrained in her American culture. Mahmoud clings to his religion as it is a main source of stability. This explains why he is so rigid about following the rules. His religion is his foundation and there doesn’t seem to be much else available to him.
It should be quite interesting to see how Mahmoud El Sherbiny does when he comes to America where there are more things available. Will he change his point of view when in a new environment and opposing cultural norms? Will this lead to another season of this couple on another 90 Day Fiance franchise?
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