Reports stemming from the Arab media indicating that Egypt's newly elected, Muslim-dominated Parliament has introduced a "farewell intercourse" law, which would allow husbands to have sex with their wives up to six hours after death, are being called fabrications planted by supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Another potential law reportedly drafted for consideration in Parliament includes lowering the marrying age of women to 14. Many have been critical of these alleged pieces of legislation, arguing that they could not possibly be real.
According to Egypt's English language website Al Arabiya News, Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of Egypt's National Council for Women, has appealed these two controversial proposals, although their validity remains in question.
Al-Talawi reportedly sent her appeal to the Egyptian People's Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, requesting that Parliament rethink the controversial legislation, which she argues were drafted under "alleged religious interpretations."
"Talawi tried to underline in her message that marginalizing and undermining the status of women in future development plans would undoubtedly negatively affect the country's human development, simply because women represent half the population," Egyptian columnist Amro Abdul Samea wrote in the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram, as referenced by Alarabiya.net.
According to the Daily Mail, the "farewell intercourse" legislation has now become a hot-button issue in Egypt, among politicians and the media alike.
"This is very serious. Could the panel that will draft the Egyptian constitution possibly discuss such issues? Did Abdul Samea see by his own eyes the text of the message sent by Talawi to Katatni?" the Daily Mail quoted TV anchor Jaber al Qarmouty as saying.
"This is unbelievable. 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 told the British newspaper.
The issue of "farewell intercourse" reportedly arose in May 2011, when Zamzami Abdul Bari, a Moroccan cleric, said that marriage between a man and a woman is still sacred after death.
Others have argued that claims of Egyptian lawmakers considering such a law are completely false. According to The Huffington Post, those skeptical of the legislation argue that it was planted into the media by sources close to ex-President Hosni Mubarak in order to ensure the failure of the newly-elected Parliament.
The Christian Science Monitor calls the rumors of the legislation "hooey, utter hooey," arguing that there is zero evidence that the legislation has been introduced.
A source inside the Egyptian Embassy in London told the Daily Mail that the legislation rumors were "completely false," "forbidden in Islam," and that he "could never imagine it happening."
Although the validity of this legislation remains in question, the issue of women's rights has been a growing concern in Egypt since the election if the country's new Parliament, which took place in February.
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