The spirit of Tahrir

Update: April 27: It may be that this is a fake. There are murmurs to that effect but I haven’t found anything authoritative yet. I’ll update if I do.

Be careful before you read this. Don’t be drinking wine or coffee or lemonade while you read. Put down anything fragile. Close the windows. If you’re at work, brace yourself, so that no flurries of obscenity burst out before you can stop them.

Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament is considering two new laws

…one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.

Don’t look at me. I did warn you.


  1. 'Tis Himself says

    If my wife predeceases me, having sex with her corpse will not be something I’ll have an urge to do. Purely anecdotal, but I daresay the vast majority of married men would agree with me.

  2. says

    Jeez, what kind of attitude is that? Here are the nice Islamists considering giving Egyptian men one last shot before it’s too late, and you’re throwing cold water on the idea. Typical Orientalist colonialist Westerner.

  3. Iain says

    I have no desire to have sex with a corpse. I’m not sure I have a problem with other people doing it though. Seems a bit eugghhh to me, but so do plenty of other things that some people like to do.

  4. 'Tis Himself says

    Typical Orientalist colonialist Westerner.

    You’re right. Please don’t beat me.

  5. Beauzeaux says

    So up until now sex with the deceased wife was illegal? Were there a lot of people calling for legalization? Petitions drawn up? Picket lines outside Government House?

    And the six-hour time limit is interesting. Sex with a reeking corpse is cool at 5-1/2 hours but unacceptable at 6 houts plus one minute? (Wonder what Miss Manners would say.)

  6. Beauzeaux says

    Re: The age of consent

    Until 2008, the age of consent in Canada was 14. It’s now 16 with the following exceptions depending on the age of the younger partner. A youth of twelve or thirteen can consent to sexual activity with an individual less than two years older than them. A fourteen- or fifteen-year-old can consent to sexual activity with a partner who is less than five years older than them. Civilized, I’d say.

    However, lowering the marriage age to 14 can’t be anything but bad news for the young girls.

  7. wytchy says

    “Typical Orientalist colonialist Westerner.”

    Laughed. So. Hard.

    But really, how phallocentric/misogynistic does a culture have to be to regulate the amount of time you can use your wife (who they treat more like a tissue) after they die?

  8. Timid Atheist says

    Just pretend there’s the f-bomb in this comment about a million times. I’m too lazy to copy paste.

  9. Chris says

    Yes, because having sex with your dead wife more than six hours after she dies is just sick.

    Actually, I really hope there is a video somewhere of an Egyptian MP standing up and advocating the right of men to have sex with the corpse of their dead wife.

    It would be particularly good if, after advocating sex with dead bodies and marrying off 14 year old girls, they then railed against the immorality and licentiousness of the west.

  10. Chris says

    It’s OK everyone – it’s equal opportunity:

    “Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband. “

  11. Chris says

    One more thought. Unfortunately.

    A man’s wife has just died. In the middle of his grief, does he really think “Oh well, time for one more go”?



    How do ideas like this even get spoken out loud, let alone put to parliament?

  12. says

    I looked this up and found that you can marry at 14, under certain circumstances, in Georgia, the Vatican City, Canada, the states of New Hampshire and New York and a few other places. Clearly – it’s still bad news from Egypt – and I am sure few in the places I mentioned take advantage of the low threshold.

  13. Bill Yeager says

    Now, if you fuck someone else’s dead wife do they stone you for adultery?

    No, silly.

    They stone her.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Chris @ # 14: … a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.

    Under Sharia, then, all four wives must be given the same opportunity.

    “When you think he has just one more hour to breathe, Doctor, please administer the blue pill, and close the door for five hours. Bismallah!”

  15. Sunny says

    What is interesting is that for once the law is symmetric: a woman is also allowed to have sex with her dead husband. When was the last time you heard of such equality?


    The Ayatollah Under the Bed(sheets): In the Islamic Republic of Iran, all politics may not be sexual, but all sex is political.

    Sex and the Single Mullah: Islamic scholars are prepared to answer questions and issue fatwas on almost any realm of modern life. Sometimes, it can get a little kinky.

  16. says

    Cross-posting this from Pharyngula:


    I wouldn’t call myself hugely confident this is a legit story, yet. Yes, I’m finding some dozen sources in news searches, but things can bloom that far out before corrections catch up.

    So far I’m getting it’s al-Arabiya’s Abeer Tayel quoting al-Ahram’s Amro Abdul Samea as reporting it’s a letter from Egypt’s National Council for Women protesting this. Rather convoluted; and there’s no direct quotes from the parliamentarians alleged to be considering it. And the NCW page doesn’t mention it, so far as I can see, tho’, for the record, I had to read it through machine translation.

    Also, for what it’s worth, the CSM’s Dan Murphy sez he doesn’t buy it.

    (Any persons reading Egyptian Arabic present, please assist: The NCW front page is here.)

  17. says

    Fair enough. I’m not certain about it myself – on the other hand there doesn’t seem to be anyone saying it’s a fake, yet, either, and if it is you’d think there would be by now.

    Watch and wait, I guess, for now.

  18. James says

    Somehow, I don’t find somebody who feels activism against certain aspects of anti-woman Islamic culture to be “Orientalist Radical Feminist Islamophobes” are themselves a credible perspective whom I’d refer to when ascertaining the legitimacy of this story.

  19. says

    Re Zeinobia, honestly, I wish I could be more sure either way. I really wouldn’t expect her to be much of an ally of the hardliners. But Egypt’s so very fluid right now.

    I’ve read a bit deeper into the NCW’s stuff (still through the translators), tho’, and, again, for what it’s worth, I’m still not seeing anything about this there.

    I expect there’ll be more news in a few hours, and it’ll out, one way or another, once the sun’s up in Egypt.

  20. Rieux says

    It’s a solidly disgusting idea—but really, policies that justify abuse of living people (notably, in this context, women) are actually more objectionable, right? I’d much rather have my corpse defiled somehow than have similar bodily abuse take place before I kick the bucket.

  21. mirax says

    The story about allowing corpse sex may well be fake but you can bet your last dollar that the islamists will try to lower the age of marriage, restrict divorce initiated by women, reduce women’s options in family law cases etc.If not now, then pretty soon. We’ll all be a little less jokey then.

    Khomeini reduced Iran’s age of consent to 9 for girls and it was only about a decade ago when a reformist minded parliament raised it up to 13.

  22. Bill Yeager says

    A ploy, perhaps?

    “Ok, Ok, sheesh, we’ll appease your demands and drop the necrophilia”

    “All those in favour of marrying young girls?”
    “Motion passed, help yourselves gentlemen, next time we’ll try for nine years old, just like our prophet, we just have to think of something worse than corpse sex we can distract them with”.

    Alley Snackbar and all that.

  23. Boomer says

    Sarah AB: NO, you canot marry in Canada at 14.

    I’ve no idea where you got that “info”.

  24. says

    mirax – oh I’m not at all jokey about Islamism in Egypt.

    A ploy; that seems plausible. Republicans in the US are good at doing that (and Democrats are not).

  25. says


    According to Ahmed Zahran talking to Tunisia Live, The ‘farewell sex’ part was bullshit.

    The 14-year-old thing… apparently not entirely. ‘There are talks the Salafis may propose that…’

    More at the link.

  26. says

    Tunisia Live bills themselves as a Tunisian English-language paper. Their ‘About us’ is here.

    Ahmed Zahran describes himself as an ‘Egyptian activist’. I found speeches, here and there, and a twitter account, and those that have photographic material show the same face. He describes having been in Tahrir Square. The party the article says he’s connected to–Tayar al-Masry–bills itself as ‘moderate Islamist’, younger people splintered off from the Moslem Brotherhood. His Twitter account links to what appears to be pretty sympathetic coverage (as in: sympathetic to the Copts) of gangs attacking Copts, among other things.

    What I’m getting is: neither he nor Zeinobia read particularly as extremists (against the background, anyway), and they’re both saying: we watch parliament, and we heard of no such discussion. It’s bizarre that this got as far as it did, but this story really doesn’t look credible to me, now.

  27. says

    (/… addendum: the necrophilia aspect doesn’t look credible. As per the linked story: the marriage age thing, yeah, that’s apparently a live one, at least insofar as some of the real nutters–and probably some of them elected–are floating it.)

  28. says

    Ok. I think I’ll still wait until the correction spreads to update my post, but when it does I will.

    The marriage age item doesn’t strain credulity in the slightest. It’s standard fare. The parliament is mostly Islamist, so standard fare is going to be forthcoming.

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