Egypt's new Islamist government has drawn criticism for policies restricting free speech, freedom of religion and for its treatment of women. Coptic activist Ashraf Ramelah offers another concern in a column published Monday by Israel's Arutz Sheva.
Religious decrees place the nation's art, and even one of the "seven wonders of the world," in peril.
A fatwa issued in November by Murgan Salem al-Gohary calls for the destruction of the pyramids and Sphinx as idols whose existence violates religious orders. "God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols," he said. "When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do."
One man later was arrested for trying to attack the Sphinx with a hammer, Ramelah writes. In the past month, statues of an Egyptian singer and an academic were vandalized. It's an outgrowth of the country's political dominance under the Muslim Brotherhood.
"This is the terror of state religion," Ramelah writes. "Often authored on the whim of a solitary, unknown sheik, absurd rulings stand firm and absolute with power to shape and control behavior."