AllahPundit (Hot Air), Andrew Sullivan, and Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) question whether a bill allowing people to have sex with their dead spouses (for up to six hours after the death) was indeed proposed in the Egyptian Parliament. The story apparently began in the Al Ahram newspaper, and was then taken up by the Al Arabiya newspaper [UPDATE: just to make it clear for those who don’t read the blog, this is the story I blogged about yesterday]; AllahPundit suggests they are not to be trusted:
Al-Ahram is controlled by the Egyptian government, which I assume means it’s heavily influenced by the ruling military junta. And the junta, of course, is invested in discrediting the Islamists in order to defend its prerogatives against parliament’s growing power. (It’s worth noting too that Al-Arabiya, which picked up the story from Al-Ahram, is a Saudi outfit and the Saudis are mighty anxious about the idea of Islamist populists seizing power from sclerotic tyrannical regimes.)
AllahPundit counsels skepticism, but is not sure:
[N]one of this is to say the story isn’t true — the part about the marriage age being lowered is all too plausible — but it’s not hard to see why Mubarak allies might want to make something up or inflate something one of the fringier parliamentarians said in order to galvanize international opinion against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. It is, however, hard to see why the MB would allow parliament to entertain a law like this at a moment when they’re busy gladhanding westerners to reassure them that the Brotherhood are “modern” Islamists who are worthy of foreign aid and trade deals. If this really is being kicked around by MPs, I’d bet it’s the Salafists who are pushing it. But we’ll see.
Sullivan and the Monitor seem to go further. I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong, but thought I’d note the possibility that Al Ahram and Al Arabiya may not be accurate on this.
UPDATE: The Daily Mail reports:
[S]ources inside the Egyptian Embassy in London have said the claims were ‘completely false’, ‘forbidden in Islam’ and ‘could never imagine it happening’.
The source said the proposal, if it even existed, had not reached the parliament — although it was also admitted it could be the work of an extremist politician.