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Friday, August 22, 2008

Egypt: Where courts sentence and sheikhs punish

Even "moderate" Egypt doesn't distinguish between secular and Islamic jurisprudence. From MEMRI Blog:
Attorney Nabih Al-Wahsh has filed a lawsuit against Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi demanding that he be removed from his position, banned, and fined 20 million Egyptian pounds for refusing to implement a sentence of 80 lashes handed down by an Egyptian court to film director Inas Al-Daghidi.

Al-Daghidi, director of "Diary of a Teenager," was accused of slandering Egyptian girls, harming their good name, and spreading licentiousness via his film.

Source: Al-Masryoon, Egypt, August 21, 2008

The main point of the story is, of course, that Egypt uses lashes to suppress freedom of expression.

But notice the sequence of events: An Egyptian court (secular?) sentenced a film director to lashes (Islamic) for "slandering Egyptian girls and harming their good name" (Islamic.)

The sentence was to be carried out by a cleric (Islamic) but he refused. Therefore the lawyer sues in a (secular) court to punish the sheikh, using secular methods (fine and demotion) for not carrying out a religious punishment imposed by the secular court.

No one that I'm aware of refers to modern Egypt as a theocracy. Although its constitution explicitly says that "Islam is the Religion of the State. Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)."