Egypt: Mufti defends his edicts, claims independence from gov't

Egypt's top government-appointed Muslim leader defended himself Tuesday after coming under fire in the media and from senior religious scholars for issuing controversial religious instructions, or fatwas. Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, who heads Dar al-Iftaa, or the House of Fatwas, has outraged many in saying recently that Egyptians who drowned while illegally trying to emigrate to Italy were "greedy - not martyrs". He was also criticized for a fatwa which said speeding drivers who run over people deliberately standing in their way can not be condemned for killing them. This fatwa was reported after an incident earlier in November in which a police car ran over a woman who tried to stop them from arresting a female relative.