I'm guessing Egypt is like most Arab countries in that 1) children are viewed as the property of the father, and he has all rights and 2) violence against women is hardly considered a crime, if it is at all. Furthermore, Arab countries often require women exiting the coutnry with children to have all kinds of permissions from the husband or male relative.
Basically, your friend is royally screwed. I say this not to be harsh or unsympathetic, but rather to point out that she is experiencing what Western consulates say loud and clear every chance they get -- when you choose to move to a foreign country, you are under that country's laws, and we most likely can't come and bail you out when you get in trouble. The British Embassy in Cairo likely has no legal grounds to intervene. She has hoisted herself, and has no one else to blame.
And, sad to say, some cultures are worse than others when it comes to these issues. Arab/Islamic cultures are the worst. I have seen it over and over and over again -- a Western girl meets a man from a foreign culture who sweeps her off her feet, they get married, usually get him his citizenship in the Western country, then go back to his home culture for "vacation" or a "short stay". Upon arriving, she is told that she and the kids have just made a permanent move, and Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde as he is not only reduced to his home culture norms, but even has to prove to his family and friends that HE is in control of this marriage to a white girl.
Bottom line -- she either has to convince him to go home with the kids "temporarily" -- in which case she stays in the UK and files for divorce, changes address, etc (as he will likely come to get her), or she has to try and sneak out over another border. This will be nearly impossible in Egypt.
It seems to me that the societies that produce the best romancers also produce terrible husbands.
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