Egyptian ‘wife rape’ fatwa issued; Salafist cleric silenced

With quite the history of issuing his share of über-fundamentalist Islamic fatwas (religious rulings), Egypt’s Sheikh Yasser Burhami’s latest edict may have landed him in more hot water than he’s prepared to deal with. As reported on 25 April, 2014 by the Royal House of Saud-owned Al Arabiya news portal (of the United Arab Emirates), and also by the Nigerian-based Naij news service, the Islamic cleric is also the Vice President of the influential and notoriously hard-core Al-Da’wa Al-Salafiya (ultra-orthodox Salafist) Movement.

Prompting cries of outrage from both the population in general as well as on social media, Burhami ruled on what is popularly known as “the rape fatwa.” As cited, the preacher decreed that it is permissible for a Muslim man to allow his wife to be sexually assaulted and violated just so long as the husband believes that his life is in danger. Equating a man’s spouse being raped akin to the same loss a man should accept if he lost money while being mugged, the cleric added “In this case he is forced [to surrender her] and not obliged [to defend her].”

This particular fatwa isn’t the only chin-scratching directive issued by Burhami. He recently ruled in graphic detail that a husband has the right to personally execute his wife if he catches her in an adulterous affair, but only under the proviso that he actually witnesses “his wife being penetrated by another man.”

Sporting a huge bruise on his forehead from literally pounding his head on the ground repeatedly while at prayer, the Sheikh may have had his headaches added to by the chorus of those condemning his teachings. Perhaps the one Twitter message that best sums up the avalanche of social media outrage was the one micro-blogging blast: “They say the only animal who does not protect his females … is Yasser Burhami.”

Known for his fundamentalist interpretation of both the Islamic Qur’an and accompanying Shari’a Law, Sheikh Burhami is on the outs with the nation’s Ministry of Religious Endowments. Burhami has since been officially banned by the government from preaching in any of the North African nation’s mosques, ostensibly due to the good Sheikh’s failure to graduate from Cairo’s al-Azhar University, long considered to be the highest center of learning in the Sunni branch of Islam, of which the majority of the world’s Muslim adhere to.