Flooded By Fatwas

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THE SPINE NOVEMBER 7, 2007

Flooded By Fatwas

The fatwa department at Cairo's Al-Azhar University issues about 1,000 edicts a day, and Al-Alzhar is certainly not the only source of these religious rulings.  In fact, as Daniel Williams reports in Bloomberg News, there is an explosion of decrees and an explosion of sources which issue them.  There is, then, fatwa chaos from Indonesia to Morocco.  There are judgements that order Muslims not to watch television, ban sculpture, dictate female circumcision, and one recently that commands "women who meet alone with men ought...breastfeed them to create a 'maternal' bond that precludes having sex."I suppose the first fatwa that many of us heard about was the death sentence by the Ayatollah Khomeini on novelist Salman Rushdie, condemned for blasphemy in The Satanic Verses.  This is not the most violent of these rulings.  There are all of the exhortations to jihad whose victims are mostly Muslims.    

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