Late last week a strange story
emerged alleging that Egypt's parliament was considering a 'Farewell Intercourse Law' to make it legal for Egyptian husbands to have sex with their dead wives for up to six hours after death. Why six hours? I assume to make sure the tender last moments are wrapped up before rigor mortis fully sets in. Though according to Wikipedia
, rigor mortis begins after 3 to 4 hours, so that might be a bit awkward.
Naturally a lot of news orgs ran the story without bothering to do any kind of fact-checking
. Then they had to backpedal after it became apparent there wasn't any kind of truth to the report.
tried to find the source of the story and traced it to a fringe Moroccan sheikh, Zamzami Abdelbari, who suggested (a while ago) that Islam might allow the practice. This recently inspired an Egyptian talk-show host to mention the idea. Then a pro-Mubarak columnist for Al-Ahram
picked up on it, claiming it was an actual law that was being considered by the Islamist parliament. This provoked a TV commentary on the channel ON TV, which was then reported by the English website of Al-Arabiya
. And this, finally, brought it to the attention of English-language news orgs that promptly ran the story. The whole thing was like an extended game of telephone.