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Saudi clerics to mull whether Syrian women can abort pregnancies from rape

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Syrian women raped by gang-like militia or forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad should be allowed to undergo abortion according to a Saudi cleric.

Sheikh Ali al-Maliki described rape as one of the most heinous crimes against women and one that is worse than murder. “A body’s scars can heal but scars of the soul stay,” he told Al Arabiya.

His fatwa is the result of a heated debate between religious scholars in Saudi Arabia after families of rape victims from the bloody-conflict in Syria urged Islamic scholars to issue an edict allowing women to abort pregnancies that result from rape.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abd al-Aziz al-Sheikh, is scheduled to meet with the Council of Senior Muslim Scholars in the next two days to cast a verdict on the subject.

“In my opinion the scholars in the kingdom will allow abortion in light of the calamities befallen on Syrian ... An honorable woman raped by Shabiha men cannot bear the birth of an illegitimate child,” he said.

Various Islamic schools of thoughts have differing opinions on abortion which vary from a complete ban on the procedure to allowing it under specific conditions, like within a designated period of the first trimester. If, for example, a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, she is allowed to undergo an abortion according to one school of thought.