AL-MASRY AL-YOUM

Islamists & Necrophilia: How Western Media Fell For Bogus Islam-Bashing Tale

The making of a hoax: how a story about a law allowing Egyptian men to have sex with their dead wives went from rumor to front page of the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and Al-Arabiya.

7,204 people (and counting) have recommended this on Huffington Post
7,204 people (and counting) have recommended this on Huffington Post

CAIRO - "Islamists' and "Necrophilia." Put those two words together in a headline and your story is sure to go viral.

That must be what the Daily Mail and The Huffington Post, among others, were thinking when they published a recent articles on a supposed parliamentary bill in Egypt allowing necrophilia and child marriage. On the Huffington Post, the headline read, "Farewell intercourse law: Egyptian Parliament reportedly drafts measure to allow husbands to have sex with dead wives."

The story was about Egypt's Islamists pushing for a law allowing a man to have sex with his deceased wife up to six hours after her death. You can imagine the comments; the story was shared thousands of times through Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

Only problem, of course, is that the story was bogus.

The story started two weeks ago after columnist Amr Abdel Sami wrote a column in the Egyptian state-owned newspaper, Al-Ahram. In the article, he warned of the Islamization of Egyptian society, and worried about the Salafi success in the parliamentary elections. He gave some examples of what Islamization might lead to. Among several things, he quoted controversial Moroccan Sheikh Zamzami Abdul Bari saying that it would be halal for a man to have intercourse with his wife after death. It should be noted that Zamzami is infamous for his bizarre fatwas, including having earlier embraced consumption of alcohol for pregnant women.

Abdel Sami wrote that he was afraid this kind of thinking could spread to Egypt. The day after, ONTV host Jaber al-Qarmouty discussed the column in his show. After reading the passage concerning necrophilia aloud several times, he asked whether such a bill could be introduced in the Islamist-controlled Egyptian Parliament, wondering if Abdel Sami's "sources' had tipped him off to this.

From rumor to viral

The next day, Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya brought up the matter on their English website. By now, all the little fallacies had been synthesized and the headline read: "Egyptian women urged parliamentarians to reject the draft laws that allow child marriage and sex after death."

What is puzzling about the spread of this hoax is that it could not have been that difficult for journalists to fact check it. When we contacted Ziad Bahaa Eddin, Member of Parliament for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, he replied within an hour, stating that no such "ludicrous' bill had ever been discussed or brought up in Parliament.

The Huffington Post, while acknowledging widespread doubts about the validity of the story, has nonetheless left the post on the site. Hard to resist the clicks that even a baldly false story can produce. But it is also hard to avoid the reality that the story was written by and for Westerners eager to reinforce Islamophobia.

Read the full article in Al-Masry Al-Youm

Photo - Huffington Post screenshot

*This a digest item, not a direct translation

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Society

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.


The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.

Hollandse-Hoogte/ZUMA

Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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