In Brief

Sex after death: women protest Farewell Intercourse law

Proposed law allowing Egyptian men to have sex with their dead wives 'would be a catastrophe'

EDITOR'S NOTE, 3 MAY: Since this story was published, initial claims that it was a hoax have been borne out. Al Arabiya has quoted a number of denials by Egyptian MPs, and Samy Mahran, Secretary General of Parliament, said: "I have never heard of anything in this regard."

A DRAFT Egyptian law that would allow a husband to have sex with the corpse of his wife up to six hours after her death is being contested by a national woman's group, reports al Arabiya News. The proposal, dubbed the 'Farewell Intercourse' law, is currently going through the majority Islamist parliament. Fighting it is the National Council for Women (NCW), which says the law "marginalises" and "undermines" the status of women in Egypt. The group is also contesting another draft law that would permit a 14-year-old girl to marry. Currently the age limit is 18.

Egyptian journalist and TV anchor, Jaber al-Qarmouty, lent his support to the NCW protest. "It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?" he asked.

He was not alone in finding the proposal unbelievable. On Twitter, several users have asked whether it is a hoax. But reputable Egyptian news sites continue to report the story.

The controversial notion that a man has the right to intercourse with his dead wife emerged in May 2011 when a Moroccan cleric, Zamzami Abdul Bari, claimed marital rights were still "valid even after death".

A woman should be entitled to the same privilege with her dead husband, he added. Egyptian columnist Amro Abdul Samea reports in the newspaper al-Ahram that the head of the NCW, Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, has written to parliament contesting the introduction of both laws.

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