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Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 17:53 UK

Egypt anger over virginity faking

By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Arab Affairs analyst

Group of Arab women
Pre-marital sex carries a strong social stigma in many Arab societies

A leading Egyptian scholar has demanded that people caught importing a female virginity-faking device into the country should face the death penalty.

Abdul Mouti Bayoumi said supplying the item was akin to spreading vice in society, a crime punishable by death in Islamic Sharia law.

The device is said to release liquid imitating blood, allowing a female to feign virginity on her wedding night.

There is a stigma about pre-marital sex in conservative Arab societies.

The contraption is seen as a cheap and simple alternative to hymen repair surgery, which is carried out in secret by some clinics in the Middle East.

It is produced in China and has already become available in other parts of the Arab world.

The device is reported to be on sale in Syria for $15.

Professor Bayoumi, a scholar at the prestigious al-Azhar University, said it undermined the moral deterrent of fornication, which he described as a crime and one of the cardinal sins in Islam.

Members of parliament in Egypt have also called for banning import of the item.



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