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Fatwa allowing illegal antiquities excavation triggers ire in Egypt

The Egyptian government will attempt to hold on to its antiquities amid a religious edict giving ordinary citizens the right to excavate and keep such treasures.
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A recent religious edict allowing ordinary Egyptian citizens to illegally excavate and keep antiquities and treasure from their own land has triggered an uproar from the country’s government officials and moderate religious scholars.

Early this month, Abdel Hamid el-Atrash — former head of the Edicts Committee at Egypt’s top Islamic body, Dar al-Ifta — said that it is the right of any individual who finds gold or treasure on his or her own land to keep it, provided they offer part of the value to charity, the semi-official daily newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

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