Mon, Apr 3, 2006 at 9:59:55 am
The most senior Islamic jurist in Egypt, Grand High Mufti Shaikh Ali Gomaa, has issued a fatwa forbidding statues of any kind. (Hat tip: Dave.)
A fatwa issued by Egypt’s religious authority forbidding the display of statues has raised fears that it could be used as an excuse to destroy the country’s historical heritage.
Shaikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and the country’s most senior Islamic jurist, issued the religious edict last week. He ruled that the exhibition of statues in homes is prohibited and based his opinion on the hadith (the sayings of Prophet Muhammad).
Intellectuals and artists argue that the decree represents a setback for art - a mainstay of the multi-billion-dollar tourist industry - and would damage the country’s fledgling sculpture industry.
Gomaa did not mention statues in museums or public places, but he condemned sculptors and their work.
Still, some fear that the edict could encourage people to attack the thousands of ancient and pharaonic statues at tourist sites across Egypt.
Gamal al-Ghitani, editor of the literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab, said: “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.”