CAIRO - AL-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, on Sunday declared that any woman pregnant by rape must abort the baby immediately in order to maintain 'social stability'.
'A raped woman must terminate the pregnancy immediately upon learning of the pregnancy if a trusted doctor gives her clearance for the abortion,' the Islamic Research Council of the Cairo-based institution said in a statement.
This would ensure 'social stability,' it said.
According to the independent Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR), two women are raped every hour in this country of 76 million.
Many factors contribute to the increase in sexual harassment including rising unemployment, the huge cost of marriage and the fact that sex outside marriage is forbidden, experts say.
Egyptian law bans abortion except on the grounds of 'necessity", which includes instances when a woman's life or health is in danger or in cases of fetal abnormality.