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February 22, 2007

Frontiers of plastic surgery in Egypt

In my limited experience learning Talmud, specifically Ketubot, I was never able to get past petach patuach, which essentially means an "open opening." There's an extended discussion about how to deal with situations in which a man marries and claims on the wedding night that his bride is not a virgin as promised. It gets very complicated, as is always the case in the Talmud, but, of course, at no point does the Talmud allow "honor killings." Not even close.

So if your culture does countenance "honor killings," one way of getting around it is to authorize hymenoplasty for women who are not virgins. If necessary, by issuing a fatwa.

CAIRO: Reconstructive hymen surgery for women who lost their virginity before marriage is halal (religiously permissible), said to Aly Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

Gomaa, the highest authority with the power to issue a fatwa (religious edict), appeared the popular terrestrial Channel Two’s talk show El Beit Beitek, where he condoned the controversial fatwa, released by Soad Saleh, the ex-dean of the faculty of Islamic studies at Al-Azhar University and noted scholar.

Shiekh Khaled El Gindy, an Al-Azhar scholar and member of the Higher Council of Islamic Studies told The Daily Star Egypt that he agrees with the new fatwa.

"Islam never differentiates between men and women, so it is not rational for us to think that God has placed a sign to indicate the virginity of women without having a similar sign to indicate the virginity of men," El Gindy said.

"Any man who is concerned about his prospective wife’s hymen should first provide a proof that he himself is virgin," he added.

El Gindy voiced his full support for Gomaa.
There's something strangely rational about this. On the other hand, maybe it would be easier to issue a fatwa prohibiting "honor killings."
The fatwa has led to much controversy within Al-Azhar and Egyptian society as a whole.

In Upper Egypt honor crimes are still committed. If a woman loses her virginity out of wedlock, she is considered a big shame on everyone and deserves to die.
Well, that may have to wait for another century.

(via Fark)