Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Fatwa against Egyptian Sculpture

A high Islamic cleric has issued a fatwa against the classical sculpture of Egypt.

In his fatwa - or religious ruling - issued earlier this month, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa quoted a saying of the prophet Muhammad that sculptors will be among those receiving the harshest punishment on Judgment Day.

Artists and intellectuals here say the edict, whose ban on producing and displaying sculptures overturns a century-old fatwa, runs counter to Islam. They also worry that extremists may use the ruling as a pretense for destroying Egypt's ancient relics, which form a pillar of the country's multibillion-dollar tourist industry.

Islam and the Pagan religions have one thing in common: there is no central authority. But the Grand Mufti's pronouncement might encourage the wackos to blow up a statue of Rameses II or otherwise interfere with the economically important tourist industry.

And money is money, as one of the many sellers of ancient-Egyptian replicas attests:

But in downtown Cairo, tourist shop owner Fathi Ibrahim says, "It's not my role to disagree with the mufti. Anything he says, we must obey."

However, Mr. Ibrahim contends that the mufti's fatwa may have been misunderstood, finding it hard to believe that his merchandise is "un-Islamic." After all, he says, "We're not selling statues for people to worship. They're just souvenirs."

Don't anyone tell Mr. Ibrahim about Egyptian reconstructionist Pagans.

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Blogger branruadh said...

The one thing the Taliban did in Afghanistan that angered me as much as their treatment of women was when they dynamited the Buddhas. If I ever had the faintest tittle of respect for "live and let live" when it comes to fundamentalist Islam, it shrinks every time one of their mullahs proves he has less connection with mundane reality than a heroin junkie on a four-day bender.

I have an essential bigotry. I hate fundamentalism.

10:36 PM  

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