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Islamist lawmaker quits Egyptian parliament after scandal over nose job, lies
CAIRO (AP) ' Egypt's ultraconservative Islamic Al-Nour party said Monday one of its lawmakers has resigned from parliament because he got a nose job and then lied about it, claiming he was beaten.
Lawmaker Anwar al-Balkimy told police he was attacked last week during an attempt to steal his car while he was driving on a highway on Cairo's outskirts. He said his attackers also robbed of him more than $16,000.
That led to an outcry against Egypt's government for failing to prevent such crimes, a stream of visitors to the wounded lawmaker in his hospital room and prominent pictures in local newspapers of his heavily bandaged face.
Then it turned out there was no carjacking, no beating and no robbery. Al-Balkimy just had a nose job.
The problem with that is that his party follows a strict line of Islam that forbids cosmetic surgery as meddling in God's work.
It was especially embarrassing for al-Nour, just weeks after a surprisingly strong showing in Egypt's parliamentary election, where it captured a quarter of the seats by championing one of the world's strictest interpretations of Islam, similar to Saudi Wahhabism.
Al-Nour had to issue an apologetic statement admitting one of its brand-new lawmakers with the beard of a religious Muslim had lied about such an issue.
"In light of the regretful incident involving Al-Nour party lawmaker Anwar al-Balkimy, the head of the party, Emad Abdel-Ghafour, went to the hospital with a team of party members to question the lawmaker, which revealed the invalidity of his claims that he was attacked," the statement said.
Al-Nour party spokesman Nader Bakar was quoted on the group's official Facebook page telling a local television station that the lawmaker was also expelled from the party.
"Based on what the hospital officials said, we decided to expel him from the party, and so he submitted his resignation," Bakar said, adding that al-Balkimy apologized for the incident.
"We are trying to bring forth a new set of social values in politics based on Islamic principals," he said.
The state prosecutor is waiting for al-Balikimy's diplomatic immunity to be lifted to begin investigating the claim of attack.
If found guilt of lying, he could face prison on charges of falsely "creating anxiety among the public" and "worrying public officials."