Egyptian Feminist Writer Faces Apostasy Trial
Egypt's prosecutor-general has ruled that a case against feminist writer Nawal el-Saadawi on charges of apostasy will be heard in court, reported the BBC.online on Wednesday.
The case is being brought by a conservative lawyer, Nabih el-Wahsh, who has also called for Saadawi's husband to divorce her on the grounds that she has deserted Islam.
The feminist writer told the news service that she was astonished at the prosecutor's decision, adding that Wahsh was "mentally disturbed."
The charges relate to an interview by Dr el-Saadawi in the Al-Midan weekly in which she was quoted as calling the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, a vestige of paganism, according to the news service.
She was also quoted as calling for the abolition of an Islamic inheritance law in Egypt that gives female heirs half what men receive.
Egyptian Grand Mufti Sheikh Nasr Fraid Wassel, who listened to tapes of the interview, called on the writer to renounce her statements.
But she said that the journalist had distorted the whole interview, and that she had merely been stating historical facts.
Saadawi has courted controversy before with her writings on women's issues.
In 1981 she was imprisoned by the late President Anwar Sadat for political activities, and some of her books were banned at January's Cairo Book Fair.
Saadawi is a leading Egyptian feminist, socialist, medical doctor, novelist and author of a classic work on women in Islam, The Hidden Face of Eve.
She had a distinguished career as director of health education in the ministry of health in Cairo, until she was dismissed summarily from her post in 1972, as a consequence of her political writing and activities.
Worse was to follow, for in 1981 she was arrested, together with some thousands of others, for alleged crimes against the state. She was released only after the assassination of Sadat – Albawaba.com
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