Posted by: becketfund | March 17, 2009

Egypt: School Refuses Admittance to Transsexual Student

CAIRO –Al-Azhar University officials expelled Mursi, a transsexual, saying she couldn’t go to the men’s classes because she was impersonating a woman — or to the women’s classes because she was actually a man, Bloomberg News reported on March 17. Twenty-one years ago, Mursi, now 43, went through a sex-change operation, as she was about to enter her fourth year at Al-Azhar’s medical school, where classes are segregated by gender under Muslim traditions of piety. Al-Azhar University is the most prestigious Islamic school in Egypt and the Middle East.  Al-Azhar has refused to abide by repeated court orders to readmit Mursi, filing appeals. The contest has become a battle between civil law and religious fiat, reflecting conflicting attitudes about sexuality in an increasingly pious country. “Mursi is suffering from being the first Egyptian transsexual to go public, combined with the fact that Egypt has not worked out the relation between state and religion,” said Hossam Baghat, 29, a legal officer for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, an independent civil rights organization. In the Muslim Middle East, the issue of transsexuality is far from settled. The Kuwaiti Parliament passed a law in 2007 that makes it a crime to imitate or dress like a person of the opposite sex, while the Iranian government, by contrast, subsidizes sex-change operations, considering transsexuality a medical condition.

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