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A recent Egyptian TV program showed how Islamic Sharia law’s many prescriptions do not merely clash with modern-day concepts like free speech and religious freedom, but even with medicine and science.
On September 16, popular TV persona Wael El-Ibrashi hosted Dr. Zaghlul al-Naggar, a prominent Islamic thinker and Chairman of Egypt’s Committee of Scientific Notions in the Quran, on the topic of medical science and Islam. Inevitably the idea of drinking camel urine as a form of therapy—first proposed in the 7th century by Muslim prophet Muhammad—came up.
Not only did Dr. Naggar promote this practice, but he made the staggering announcement that right now in Egypt a medical center in Marsa Matrouh actually specializes in treating people with camel urine, all in accord with the prophet’s advice.
Other Egyptian thinkers joined the show via satellite, including Khaled Montaser (who earlier exposed the Islamic world’s “inferiority complex”). At one point, while delineating how science and medicine work, Montaser reminded that urine is where all the body’s toxins are carried out, asking “so, shall we drink it for health?” Naggar simply responded with arrogance: “I am older than you and more learned than you: you are not going to teach me; I will teach generations of people like you.”
Egyptian thinker, Sayyid al-Qemany—whose strong support for rationalistic thinking and the separation of religion and state caused Egypt’s Islamic establishment to pronounce him an apostate infidel—also joined the show via phone, deploring the very idea that drinking camel urine could heal people.
Referring to Naggar’s announcement that there is a clinic specializing in treating people with camel urine as a “catastrophe” that only indicates how far Egypt has sunk, Qemany called on Egyptian health officials to verify if such a medical center truly exists, saying this is a serious issue involving the health of Egypt’s citizenry.
Naggar tried to defend the “salutary benefits” of camel urine by arguing that European pharmacies produce a medicine that contains female urine (possibly a reference to HCG). Qemany replied that such medicines are not based on drinking crude urine but are synthetic, exclaiming, “does this mean I should go drink my wife’s urine?!”
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