(EGYPT) Sharia Research Dept Report: During a recent live Facebook broadcast in Arabic, Dr Ahmed Mamdouh, director of the highest religious authority, the Dar al-Ifta, said that “in some cases, patching of the hymen is required and legitimate for a girl who has been raped or deceived and wants to repent and turn a new page #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.14: This new fatwa — the name given in Arabic to legal decrees or opinions handed down by leading Islamic religious figures — was issued on August 30. It expands his ruling from a 2015 study in which he opposed hymen repair in the case of “promiscuous” women, a stance based on a 2007 fatwa issued by Sheikh Ali Gomaa.

#AceDailyNews says that a new ruling on hymen repair stirs up controversy, under a new religious decree in Egypt which allows for more women than before: While it has been welcomed by rights activists and women’s organisations, some critics fear that it might lure women into premarital sex.

A medic holding a plastic vulva in her hand

During a recent live Facebook broadcast in Arabic, Dr Ahmed Mamdouh, director of the Sharia Research Department of Egypt’s highest religious authority, the Dar al-Ifta, said that “in some cases, patching is required and legitimate for a girl who has been raped or deceived and wants to repent and turn a new page.”

While Mamdouh didn’t give any examples of further explicit limitations or exceptions, he did point out that “there are some cases in which it is forbidden by Sharia to carry out the procedure of hymen repair.” 

Mamdouh’s ruling came in response to the question by an obstetrician on whether hymen reconstruction surgery is permissible in Islam.

A veiled woman looking at a bridal gown

Virginity is still linked with family honor in Islam, and brides are expected to bleed during their wedding night

Between criticism and hate speech

Only moments after his words, first comments below the Facebook broadcast were published. The majority of the commentators were critical and argued that hymen repair, also called hymen reconstruction surgery or hymenoplasty, might make sex out of wedlock more attractive for women since they would be able resort to a “quick fix” before marriage.  

“There have been people who upheld this fatwa and others who saw it as inconsistent with the conditional credibility of completing marriage,” Habiba Abdelaal, fellow of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and an expert on sexual and gender-based violence in Egypt, told DW.

According to executive Egyptian law, neither performing such an operation nor receiving one is considered illegal. Prices in private and public clinics start from €1,000 (around $1,200). However, having an intact hymen is still closely linked to purity and morality in the perception of many in Egypt.

“In Egypt, family honor is still linked to female virginity. Mothers continue to devote a great deal of mental energy to instilling in their daughters the fear of a ruptured hymen, warning them away from anything that might compromise that vital membrane, such as masturbation or the ubiquitous water hose found in bathrooms across the Arab world,” she added.

Professor Amna Nosseir of Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar University, which is affiliated with Dar al-Ifta, welcomes the fact that Mamdouh’s ruling allows the surgery for women in certain difficult situations.

She told the online magazine Al-Monitor that “exposing or scandalizing girls or women who have been raped or were lured into engaging in premarital sex is harmful as it leaves them with no hope.”

“When they are shunned by their families or society, they are left out in the cold and are not given an opportunity to seek decent lives. The [hymen reconstruction] surgery may give them a second chance and they may move on to become wives and mothers,” she said.

Women’s rights support or simply a workaround?

A second reason for the urgency of the latest ruling on hymen repair is the increase of unregistered marriages, called “urfi.” Divorcees from these marriages lack any right to alimony and regularly resort to hymen surgery so they can remarry without bringing shame on their family.

Egyptian women protest against the military council violations and virginity tests on women

Women’s rights activists in Egypt appreciate the new ruling despite the controversy on social media

Religious scholars in Egypt, meanwhile, disagree over whether a woman is morally obliged to tell the future husband about such a surgery.

According to the report on Al-Monitor, a call was made to the Dar-al-Ifta hotline that prompted the answer that girls do not need to inform their future husband, as it may past “a pall on the marriage.”

However, other religious scholars disagree and argue that honesty and truthfulness are the basis for a successful marriage.

A myriad of fatwas and satellite sheikhs

In Egypt, executive law is divided from religious law, and fatwas are officially issued by the Dar al-Ifta authority.

However, in the past, many so-called satellite sheikhs have published uncontrolled fatwas, often on sexuality and relationships. Some of them have addressed rather unconventional topics, such as men breastfeeding from women, or part-time marriages.

A man shops for traditional bride of Moulid dolls at a street market

A rise in inofficial marriages and divorces leaves more and more women without any legal right to receive alimony

Despite the fact that such an unofficial ruling has been mockingly dubbed as a “fatty,” which is short for fatwa, they still regularly stir up controversies.

In turn, Al-Azhar has been leading a campaign against the spread of uncontrolled fatwas in Egypt and has opened the Al-Azhar International Center for Electronic Fatwas to serve as a platform for moderate them.

The affiliated superior body, Dar al-Ifta, publishes questions and fatwa answers online on their website and on Twitter, in English as well, to provide transparency on new rulings, such as the new hymen repair fatwa. 

Change only for some

Although the new ruling can be considered a success for women, it also highlights the limited gains of advocacy work for women’s rights in Egypt in the past decade.

“I think this is not enough, as Egypt has other religious groups that also need protection. There should be clear and detailed laws and policies to protect Egyptian women, regardless of their religious affiliation, with sustainable and inclusive strategies,” Habiba Abdelaal told DW.

Her wish is that the Egyptian community as a whole works on changing perceptions of women’s rights and provides services to assist women: “I believe that this fatwa is a good start for creating more options for women and opening a channel for women to have the medical access and support they need for those surgeries and break the stigma and shame around them,” she said.

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: Sept.14: 2021:

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#decree, #egypt, #fatwa, #religious, #sharia

‘ Radical Sheik Calls for Murder of US Troops ‘

#AceNewsServices – TUNISIA – September 29 – A radical Tunisian sheik who has called for the murder of U.S. troops abroad and was banned from the United States for supporting the terror group Hamas is scheduled to headline an event on Tuesday at Yale University focusing on Islamic law and civilization, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. 

Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia’s controversial Islamist Ennahda Movement, is scheduled to head a lecture Tuesday afternoon Yale’s Law School, according to the school’s website.

Al-Ghannouchi’s upcoming appearance at the Ivy League school could become controversial given the sheik’s longtime support for radical terror groups and his past calls for Muslims to wage “unceasing war against the Americans.”

Al-Ghannouchi is the leading figure in Tunisia’s previously banned but hugely popular Islamist Ennahda (“Resistance”) political party, which despite being billed as “moderate” by many, has a history of violence inside and outside of Tunisia.

Al-Ghannouchi was a founding trustee and board member of a group that signed onto a notorious2004 fatwa endorsing the murder of U.S. troops in Iraq and has personally urged the Muslim world to “burn and destroy” U.S. interests across the globe.

“There must be no doubt that we will strike anywhere against whoever strikes Iraq,” the sheikh said during a speech in the early 1990s and reported on by Middle East scholar Martin Kramer.

“We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam, or we will burn and destroy all their interests across the entire Islamic world,” al-Ghannouchi was quoted as saying. “Muslim youth must be serious in their warning to the Americans that a blow to Iraq will be a license to strike American and Western interests throughout the Islamic world.”

The sheik’s violent rhetoric, radical leanings, and endorsement of Hamas led him to be banned from entering the United States for a time.


#al-ghannouchi, #fatwa, #iraq, #middle-east, #muslim, #tunisia, #us

SAUDI ARABIA: ‘ Top Clerics Issue Edict Against Islamic State for Terrorism ‘

#AceWorldNews – SAUDI ARABIA(Riyadh)- September 20 – Saudi Arabia’s highest body of religious scholars issued a stern ruling on Wednesday calling terrorism a “heinous crime” and saying perpetrators including Islamic State militants deserve punishment in line with Islamic law.

The Council of Senior Religious Scholars said in its fatwa, or religious edict, that it backs the kingdom’s efforts to track down and punish followers of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

The clerics are appointed by the government and are seen as guardians of the kingdom’s ultraconservative Wahhabi school of Islam.

The statement by the group of 21 scholars underpins the kingdom’s broader efforts to deter citizens from joining extremist groups that want to bring down the Western-allied monarchy.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Saudi Arabia last week and won support from the kingdom and other Arab allies to help fight the Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.

A State Department official told reporters ahead of the visit that Kerry planned to ask Mideast countries to encourage government-controlled media and members of the religious establishment to speak out against extremism.


#arab, #extremism, #fatwa, #iraq, #islamic-law, #islamic-state, #saudi-arabia, #syria, #us-secretary-of-state-john-kerry

BRITAIN: ‘ British Muslim Leaders Issue ‘Fatwa’ Condemning Islamic Extremist Group ISIS ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRITAIN (London) – September 01 – Muslim leaders have issued a fatwa condemning Islamic extremist group Isis, and have said that British jihadis are “betraying their own societies” by getting involved in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

​’ ISIS Jihadists Rip-Up Passports ‘

The fatwa represents the British Muslim community’s strongest denunciation of Isis yet, calling the extremist group “heretical” and “an oppressive and tyrannical group.”

According to The Sunday Times, the fatwa, authored by Sheik Usama Hasan, a former imam from east London, and supported by six senior Islamic scholars across the country, says it is “religiously prohibited (haram) to support or join” Isis.

Though Muslims have a “moral obligation” to help the Syrian and Iraqi people, they must do so “without betraying their own societies,” the fatwa states.

Baroness Warsi, former Foreign Office minister: “These are substantial figures and I welcome this announcement. The Islamic State is neither a state nor Islamic. I echo the words of these religious leaders.”



#britain, #british, #fatwa, #isis, #jihadists, #london, #muslims

` Indonesian Islamic Clerics issue `Fatwa ‘ against illegal hunting and trade in endangered animals’

#AceWorldNews says that Indonesia’s Islamic clerics have issued a religious fatwa against the illegal hunting and trade in endangered animals in the country.

The fatwa by the Indonesian Ulema Council declares such activities “unethical, immoral and sinful,” council official Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh told AFP.

All activities resulting in wildlife extinction “without justifiable religious grounds or legal provisions” are forbidden, said Sholeh, secretary of the council’s commission on fatwas.

The government does not typically react to fatwas by implementing specific policy changes.


#afp, #fatwa, #fatwas, #indonesias, #indonesian, #islamic-clerics