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Fake "hymen" sparks outrage in Egypt

Scholars slam product that gives back virginity

From new noses to luscious lips modern technology means anything can be bought, and now a Chinese-made "hymen" aims to give women back their virginity, which MPs in Egypt have slammed as a deceitful tool that promotes vice and corruption.

The hymen, called the Virginity Hymen, consists of a tiny pouch that is inserted inside a woman’s vagina and contains a red substance, simulating blood, which leaks when the pouch is broken during sexual intercourse.

The devise, which costs $15, has kicked off mass debates amongst Egypt’s MPs and religious scholars about ways to stop it from being imported to Egypt as they fear it may encourage promiscuous behavior.

A fatwa sanctioning the harshest of punishments on those who import the hymen was issued by Dr. Abdel-Moati Bayoumi, a member of the Center for Islamic Research (CIR), which has been slammed as unnecessary.

“People who bring the artificial hymen into the country should be severely penalized,” Bayoumi, who is also a former Deputy Chairman of the Religious Affairs Committee in parliament, stated in his fatwa.

“They spread vice and encourage girls to engage in illicit relationships as they know they can restore their virginity,” he warned.

Egyptian imam, Sheikh Youssef al-Badri, agreed with Bayoumi and argued that people who import the hymen should be made an example of to others so they don’t think of getting involved in the same business.

“A person dealing with artificial hymens should be flogged, put in jail, or deported from the country so that no one else could think of following suit,” he said.

People who bring the artificial hymen into the country should be severely penalized

Egyptian scholar

No fatwa needed

Meanwhile another CIR member, Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour, slammed Bayoumi’s fatwa as "ijtihad," an independent interpretation of Islamic law in order to evaluate a contemporary issue.

“Instead of imposing penalties on importers of artificial hymens, we should declare it is religiously illicit to import it, sell it or distribute it,” Ashour, who is also the former al-Azhar deputy chairman, told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat.

“We should also impose hefty fines on those import it,” he added.

Dr. Mustafa al-Shakaa, also a CIR member, said it was enough to apply the commercial fraud law on this new product.

“The artificial hymen involves deceit on the part of women,” he told the paper. “Thus importing it is fraudulent.”

Shakaa added that any decision concerning the artificial hymen should be preceded by meetings between Islamic scholars so they can reach a consensus on ways to deal with what he called “a violation of Muslim honor.”

Despite the fuss about the product, there is still no proof it has reached the Egyptian market but rumor has it that it is already being used by some doctors in private clinics.

Islam forbids fornication, or sex outside of marriage.

In some traditional societies a woman's virginity is linked with family honor and is, in fact, the main cause of the majority of honor killings.



(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

The artificial hymen involves deceit on the part of women. Thus importing it is fraudulent

Egyptian scholar