Editor's note: Since the "proposed law" was first reported in Al Arabiya, questions have arisen over the validity of the claims. The Christian Science Monitor is just one of several outlets that have questioned whether the reports are true or indeed if any such law would be able to gain traction in the Egyptian parliament. Since first published, this article has been amended to reflect those concerns.
Update: Several Egyptian sources are claiming via Twitter that the story below is false. It has been suggested by some that a rumour may have been placed by sources loyal to former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
A report in Al Arabiya has suggested that the Egypt's new Islamist-dominated parliament is preparing to introduce a controversial law that would allow husbands to have sex with their deceased wives up to six hours after death.
Reported as the “farewell Intercourse” law, the measure is being championed as part of a raft of reforms introduced by the parliament that will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 13 for girls.
According to the Dubai-based news outlet, the proposals have sparked outrage amongst women's rights groups, with Egypt's National Council for Women accusing the government of “marginalising and undermining the status of women”.
The first suggestions of a “farewell intercourse” piece of legislation was reportedly first mooted in 2011, after a Moroccan cleric suggested sex remained legitimate even after death, whether with a man or a woman.
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According to Al Arabiya News, Dr Mervat al-Talawi, head of the country’s National Council for Women, has written to the parliament speaker pleading to not enact the laws, which would “rid women of their rights of getting education and employment”.
On Tuesday, high profile Egyptian journalist Jaber al-Qarmouty joined the chorus of disapproval.
He said: "This is unbelievable. It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?”
Many of Egypt’s laws enacted to protect women’s rights were won during the Mubarak regime. Islamists are reportedly now looking to roll back these hard-won reforms as a point of “protecting families”.
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