A picture taken on December 12, 2017 shows an elevated view of al-Attaba district on the edge of downtown Cairo, Egypt. (AFP/ File photo)
Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta, the body responsible for issuing religious edicts, launched on Wednesday the hashtag #تحديد_ النسل_ جائز, (which translates as "Birth control is permissible”), on the heel of recent remarks by President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi on the need to control the growth of the population.
Dar Al-Ifra took to social media to elaborate on some misinterpretations of Quranic verses that are used as a basis to prohibit birth control, a problem that Egypt has been struggling with and that is deemed by some as one of the reasons behind overpopulation.
"The abundance [of children] without having the power [to raise them] is deemed unnecessary," Dar Al-Ifra said, referring to a saying by the Prophet in this respect. It also warned the public against resorting to abortion as a form of birth control.
Several media outlets used the newly launched hashtag in an effort to raise awareness about birth control and campaign against overpopulation detrimental to development efforts.
Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world with 101.5 million citizens and is set to grow to 153.7 million by 2050, which requires the state to double its infrastructure projects during the coming 30 years, according to officials.
Wednesday's hashtag comes a day after El-Sisi’s warned during an inauguration of a medical complex in Ismailia against the negative impact of overpopulation, highlighting the need to lower the annual population growth rate to 400,000 so citizens can reap the fruits of development efforts.
“Trust me, [having] more than two children is a big problem,” El-Sisi said in Ismailia.
“It is not only important that you feed them. You should pay attention and follow up on them… If there are three or four or more children [per family], you will not be able to do that,” he added.
Last year, Egypt launched a two-year initiative called "Two Is Enough" to encourage people to have fewer children.
In October, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly urged the county’s health ministry to provide all forms of contraception to women free of charge.