2011: Year-end review of Islam’s most incredible fatwas

Is it the inbreeding? Some of the Islamic world’s most fantastic fatwas include a ban on Muslim women eating phallic-shaped food like bananas as well as a fatwa giving Muslim men permission to have sex with their recently deceased wives.

al-Arabiya  The first mention of the year 2011 would automatically bring to mind revolutions, ousted regimes, and disgruntled people. However, a closer look would reveal that another different feature distinguishes 2011: a whole spat of peculiar fatwas that swept through different countries in the region.

One of the weirdest and most controversial fatwas in 2011 was one issued by an Islamist preacher who lives in Europe. According to this preacher, women are prohibited from eating phallic-shaped fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, bananas, and carrots. Touching or consuming those, he argued, are bound to turn women on and make them engage in sinful fantasies.

In Egypt, religious edicts were in most cases mixed with politics. Sheikh Amr Sotouhi, head of the Islamic Preaching Committee at al-Azhar, issued in November a fatwa prohibiting fathers from marrying their daughters to members of the formerly ruling National Democratic Party owing to their “corruption.”

In Somalia, the ultraconservative al-Shabaab al-Mujahedin Movement issued a fatwa during the holy month of Ramadan prohibiting the consumption of sambousak, a triangular pastry stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables. The popular snack, they explained, is a symbol of the Trinity in Christianity and is therefore not to be consumed by Muslims.

In Morocco, the head of the Moroccan Association for Jurisprudence Research stirred both outrage and controversy when he issued a fatwa allowing Muslim men to have sex with their just-deceased wives under the pretext that nothing in Islam prohibits sex with corpses. This fatwa followed a series of sex-related ones issued by the same cleric.

The most outrageous fatwa in Egypt was one that came out last June and in which Egyptian preacher Mohamed al-Zoghbi said eating the meat of the jinn is permissible in Islam and left everyone wondering how anyone can get hold of them in the first place, let alone eat their meat.

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