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The latest fatwa: war on statues

“Why would anyone even bring up the issue (of the statues) in a country where there are more than 10 state-owned institutions that teach sculpting and more than 20 others that teach the history of art?”
— Gamal al-Ghitani, magazine editor asking the obvious question as the fundies launch a morality campaign against statues and scuptors

Good grief. Another feather in the cap of religious extremism, this time in Egypt.

A fatwa issued by Egypt’s top religious authority, which forbids the display of statues has art-lovers fearing it, could be used by Islamic extremists as an excuse to destroy Egypt’s historical heritage.

Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, the country’s top Islamic jurist, issued the religious edict which declared as un-Islamic the exhibition of statues in homes, basing the decision on texts in the hadith (sayings of the prophet).

Egypt’s grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, also says the use of Qur’anic verses as cellphone ringtones as insulting to Islam,

Intellectuals and artists argue that the decree represents a setback for art — a mainstay of the multi-billion-dollar tourist industry — and would deal a blow to the country’s fledgling sculpture business. The fatwa did not specifically mention statues in museums or public places, but it condemned sculptors and their work.

We don’t rule out that someone will enter the Karnak temple in Luxor or any other pharaonic temple and blow it up on the basis of the fatwa,” Gamal al-Ghitani, editor of the literary Akhbar al-Adab magazine, told AFP.

Gomaa had pointed to a passage from the hadith that stated: ”Sculptors would be tormented most on Judgment Day,” saying the text left no doubt that sculpting was “sinful” and using statues for decorating homes forbidden.

…Ghitani added: “It’s time for those placing impediments between Islam and innovation to get out of our lives.”

Lest we laugh at the idiocy of this latest nonsense, it’s only been a short while since the boobage of the Spirit of Justice statue was covered up in the Justice Department by John Ashcroft because it offended him.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding