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VIDEO: Mufti beaten with shoe during Egypt TV row over headscarf

Host apologises to viewers for what he called a 'free fight' between Egyptian lawyer and controversial Australian cleric
Wahsh wields his shoe during the on-air fight (YouTube)

A fight broadcast live on Egyptian television saw an Australian mufti beaten with a shoe by an Egyptian lawyer, in a fierce dispute over questions of religious law.

The fight broke out during a discussion about the headscarf, which Sydney imam Mostafa Rashid sees as a cultural tradition rather than a religious duty.

Egyptian lawyer Nabih al-Wahsh disagreed strongly with Rashid’s position - as the pair descended into trading personal insults, Wahsh took off his shoe and began beating the imam.

Members of the production team can be seen sprinting onto the set to break up the fight, after which Rashid swiftly collects his belongings and leaves the studio.

“It was a free fight in the middle of the studio,” presenter Mohammed al-Ghaiti told viewers later as he replayed the footage and apologised for his guests’ behaviour.

“I never expected that something like this could happen on air.”

Ghaiti said a member of the production team was injured in the fight, and a pane of glass was broken.

Writing on Facebook after the event, Wahsh accused Rashid of “converting to Christianity” in 2011.

Rashid, who holds a PhD in Islamic theology from Egypt’s prestigious al-Azhar University, is known for his controversial views on Islam.

The author of a book entitled I am Secular, Rashid left Egypt for Australia in February 2013, having sparked controversy for ruling that prayers carried out alongside then Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi would be “null and void” because he had been accused of violent crimes.

He has also said that the Quran forbids drunkenness but not the drinking of alcohol, which is considered forbidden by many mainstream and observant Muslims. 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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