An Egyptian preacher has issued a fatwa – an Islamic legal opinion – according to which rape is like robbery and a husband should not risk his life protecting his wife’s honor from another man.
Yasser Burhami, the vice president of Salafist Call, the religious arm of the political ultra-conservative Nour party, has compared a rape with a robbery, saying that nobody should put their live in danger for money.
“In this case he [husband] is forced [to surrender her] and not obliged [to defend her],”Al Arabiya quoted the cleric as saying in his fatwa.
Burhami’s remarks, published on Anasalafy.com have been widely condemned by other clerics and activists in Egypt.
Salafist cleric leader Yasser Borhamy (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)Salafist cleric leader Yasser Borhamy (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
“Every Muslim has to protect his honor even if that leads him to jail or death. The sacrifice to protect a wife'shonour is a religious obligation,” Assaeed Mohammad Ali, an official at Cairo's religious endowments ministry told the al-Masry al-Youm daily.
Sheikh Ali Abu al-Hasan, the former head of al-Azhar’s fatwa committee, said that this fatwa was “baseless in the Islamic Sharia” and that protecting a female honor is an obligation for her husbands and her relatives, Al Alrabiya quotes.
In a rebuttal, Salfist Call defended their cleric, saying that he only meant there was no “obligation of defending the [wife’s] honor.”
“But if the husband is certain that he is not capable of defending himself, that he will die and that the honor of his wife will be jeopardized, what can he do?” said Sheikh Ali Hatem, a Salafist Call party spokesman.
"He is allowed to choose between sacrificing the honor and protecting his life."
On Thursday, Egypt’s religious endowments ministry banned Burhami from preaching in any of Egypt's mosques, saying that he is not an al-Azhar graduate, Egypt's Islamic Research Academy.