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Egypt Fundamentalists' Suit to Force a Divorce Denied

January 28, 1994|Associated Press

CAIRO — A court ruled Thursday that an Egyptian professor does not have to divorce his wife even though Muslim fundamentalists think he should.

Seven Muslim fundamentalist lawyers filed suit to try to force the divorce, claiming Nasr Hamid abu Zaid's writings as a professor of Arabic literature make him a heretic who could not remain married to a Muslim woman.

Abu Zaid and his wife, a professor of French, opposed the suit. They said they are in love and want to remain married.

On Thursday, Mohammed Ahmed Awadallah, a civil affairs court judge, turned down the suit on grounds that the plaintiffs had no direct interest in the case. His legal opinion explaining the verdict is to be released in a few days.

Egyptian intellectuals, already deeply concerned about fundamentalists' threats, had watched the case closely. Secularists compared it to the 1992 killing of Egyptian writer Farag Foda, an outspoken critic of fundamentalist pressure for an Islamic state.

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