'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The uprising last year that toppled President Hosni Mubarak left the Sinai with almost no government authority, so Salafist clerics with their strict and puritanical interpretation of Islam have moved into the vacuum.
"The Islamic law courts proved to be fair and honest. Ninety percent of the residents are turning away from the corrupt customary courts and resorting to Shariah courts," said Abu Bilal, a 34-year-old Bedouin waiting for a judge in an assault case against a neighbor in El Sheikh Zwayyed, a town 20 miles from el Arish.
"The customary courts failed to maintain their reputation because there was money involved. There are tribal judges that are known for taking bribes disguised as gifts for their efforts as judges," he said.