The Dar Al Ifta, Egypt's official body in charge of advising Muslims on spiritual matters, has reportedly banned online chatting between unrelated men and women in the country.
The fatwa or the religious declaration didn’t stop there, but also cautioned women against sending their photographs to strangers lest they be used by "moral deviants."
Needless to say the response is less than welcome:
and you fear #ISIS in Egypt !? For God's sake segregation in gym and fatwas to ban chat between boys and girls !!— Zeinobia (@Zeinobia) August 30, 2014
Here Are: 5 Fatwas That Will Freak You Out
Abdul Hamid Al Attrash, a senior cleric from Egypt, agrees with the fatwa. “From the religious point of view, this fatwa is sound,” Al Attrash says, adding that, “Chats between a boy and a girl who are strange to each other is prohibited because this opens the door to the devil and leads to illicit relations that are harmful to society. It is necessary to comply with this fatwa.”
What is amazing to note however, is that though the chat between men and women is said to be religiously unacceptable for both, it is only women who are asked not to send their photos to men. No wonder Egypt is considered to be one of the worst places for women.
Women, in most of the Muslim world face the harsh end of the stick. In Saudi Arabia, they cannot drive, visit libraries, work in call centers lest their voices entice men, or travel without their male guardians. Teenage girls are being shot at for perusing education in Pakistan, a woman cannot run for Presidential office in Iran… the list can go on.
It’s amazing to see how women can be marginalized even in this day and age. But it seems a large number of women in the world still have a long way to go before they earn respect and equal rights.