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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 00:47 GMT 01:47 UK
Egyptian feminist faces Islamic divorce case

A court in Egypt has begun hearing a case on whether the leading Egyptian writer and feminist, Nawal Al-Saadawi, should be divorced from her husband of 40 years because she has allegedly abandoned Islam and therefore cannot remain married to a Muslim.

The lawsuit was brought by an Islamist lawyer, Nabih Al-Wahsh, under a centuries-old principle of Islamic law that he has used in earlier cases, which allows Muslims to sue if they feel someone has harmed Islam.

Miss Saadawi was quoted in an Egyptian newspaper, saying that the Muslim practice of kissing a black stone in Mecca was a vestige of paganism.

Miss Saadawi told the BBC she was reasonably optimistic about the outcome, as the general prosecutor had asked for the case to be dismissed.

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