Friday, March 20, 2009

Egypt's Al-Azhar University Defies Court Order Requiring Admissin of Transsexual

The International Herald Tribune reported earlier this week on the continuing refusal by Egypt's prestigious Islamic Al-Azhar University to obey a civil court order to readmit Sally Mursi to its medical school. In 1985, Mursi was a third-year medical student at the University-- at that time Mursi was a man. Mursi then went through a sex-change operation and the government issued Mursi new identification documents listing Mursi as female. The University, however, refused to allow Mursi to re-enroll, and its top religious official issued a decree banning her. Medical school classes are segregated by sex. The University says Mursi cannot attend men's classes because she is impersonating a woman, and cannot attend women's classes because she is actually a man.

All of this led to nine years of civil litigation that culminated in 2007 with an order to admit Mursi. The University has appealed the order, and a hearing is set for May 6. University attorneys say it follows Islamic law, not civil law. Islam does not recognize transsexuality as a medical condition. Instead it considers it an expression of homosexuality.