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Egyptian Islamist Anwar el-Balkimy Fired for Nose Job

This week the nascent Egyptian democracy got to take part in one the world's oldest democratic traditions: the political scandal. You've finally arrived, Tahrir.

The newly elected Anwar el-Balkimy has been ejected from his leadership role in the Egyptian Al Nour party after it was revealed that he had undergone a rhinoplasty procedure and that he subsequently lied about it.

Al Nour is the more conservative of the two Islamist parties that won the lion's share of parliamentary seats in the African nation's 2011 elections. The name loosely translates to "the light." Members of the Al Nour party adhere to a fundamentalist form of political Islam known as Salafi. They condemn all forms of cosmetic surgery, even when performed for a medically sound reason. Voluntary procedures, as well as many other modern inventions, are viewed by hard line Salafists as Western indulgences that lead to moral degradation.

Well aware of this religious stigma, Balkimy told his colleagues that the bandages on his face covered injuries sustained during a vicious beating, according to the New York Times. Doctors who performed the surgery heard about Balkimy's tall tale and spoke out against the "brazenness of his lies."

Guess they don't have doctor-patient confidentiality in Egypt.

Balkimy's nose job probably would have been enough to get him booted from Al Nour, but the revelation of his embarrassing lie is what ultimately sealed his fate.

"Politicians can't be expected to pick their nose and get away with it," joked Jon Alterman, an expert on Egyptian politics who holds the new Zbigniew Brzezinski chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


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