Locust fatwa

If you need another proof of why putting faith in fatwas is stupid:

Faced with an invasion of locusts, the highest Islamic religious institution in Egypt has reportedly issued an edict allowing people to eat locusts.

The independent al-Masri al-Yawm newspaper said al-Azhar Institute has decreed it is permitted by religion to eat the red desert locusts that have invaded the country during the past week.

It said al-Azhar has urged all Egyptians to "hunt the locusts and eat them to combat the crisis."

The newspaper quoted Abdul Hamid al-Atrash, the head of the Fatwa Commission in al-Azhar, as saying eating the locusts would "contribute actively in wiping them out, instead of the fear that has consumed the hearts of millions of people."

Al-Atrash said insects that feed off plants are deemed pure for human consumption.

Come to think of it, this might not be true. But it sounds just plausible enough considering the drivel that's been spouted by Al Azhar sheikhs lately.


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,