Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fatwas for Mr President

For decades, and even centuries, fatwas have been delivered by religious people in order to help ordinary people to find solutions for their day-to-day problems. Of course, fatwas also have been requested for more important matters, and then subjects of many disputed political debates.

In modern times, the muftis have to compete with new voices which appeared with the modernization of the Arab world, namely voices of the intellectuals (muthaqqafun) and thinkers (mufakkirun) and, today, the stunning voices of the media stars (anchors, actors and so on...) who speak more and more in the name of religion.

It could be an explanation for the extraordinary mess of crazy fatwas which make a wonderful target for western media in times of muslim bashing, even if other religions probably provide similar examples of isanity.

The fact is that the mushrooming of (often so-called) religious programs, all of them competing for fame, opens the flow to "scandalous" fatwas. Egypt has seen for example the revival of an "old" one, initialy given in Saudia, which forbides the shooting of weddings and divorces on screen, as they are thing "not to play with"...

Of course, issuing a fatwa also has something to do with politics. It is obviously the case when Egypt official mufti said that religion punishes the spread of “false information,” a clear allusion to the trial of various important journalists.

Worst, the same mufti, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, declared that he had nothing to say against the succession of Gamal Mubarak to his father Husni, should the son been correctly elected.

He did not mention the case of of president George W. Bush but he should have!

French readers are reminded that their own president, Mr Sarkozy, at a time he was "only" one of Chirac's ministers, paid a visit to Dr Tantawi in order to get a fatwa to legitimate the prohibition of the Islamic scarf in French (governmental) schools.

To read the original post in french

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