A controversial Sydney imam was live on air on an Egyptian talk show when he was attacked with a shoe.
Mostafa Rashid, who is widely considered a moderate Muslim, was discussing whether Muslim women are supposed to wear headscarves. Things escalated quickly when he claimed that the headscarf is a cultural tradition rather than a religious duty. Apparently, his comments infuriated Egyptian lawyer Nabih al-Wahsh, and the pair started hurling personal insults at one another. Al-Wahsh promptly took off his shoe and launched himself at the imam.
The imam was quick in defending himself as he kicked in direction of al-Wahsh. TV presenter Mohammed al-Ghaiti also seemed taken aback by the situation and desperately tried to separate the two.
A few members from the production team also had to step in to break up the fight.
“It was a free fight in the middle of the studio. I never expected that something like this could happen on air,” al-Ghaiti later said as he apologized to viewers for the chaos.
This is not the first time Rashid has said something that landed him in hot water. In 2014, the imam issued a fatwa stating that the veil, a piece of cloth used by Muslim women to cover their face, is not an “obligation” and that the Quran doesn’t force anyone to wear it.
Later in the year, he once again came under fire when he claimed the Quran does not forbid the consumption of alcohol. He further stated that the teachings of Islam prohibit being drunk, and thus having a little bit to drink was no problem at all.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Youssef Boudlal