A prominent Egyptian Salafist preacher has denounced the Internet as the gravest of major sins, posing a threat to Islamic societies. He accused the west of deliberately using the Internet to export pornography to Islamic and Arab countries.
Egyptians are frequent visitors to pornographic websites, with five pornographic sites amongst the top 100 searched sites in the country, Al Arabiya reported. Salafist preacher Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Yaqob has now issued a fatwa against the Internet, calling it haram (forbidden).
His wrath is not only limited to the Internet. He considers love outside marriage, which he describes as "adultery of the heart," as equal a sin as the Internet. Al Arabiya reported he said "In Islam, marriage is the only lawful man-woman relationship."
He went on to say that the Internet is the biggest challenge facing the Muslim world, calling on Muslim youths to stop their “blind imitation of the West and stand firm against the Western cultural invasion that aims at changing the identity of the Ummah (nation).”
Even as Yaqob issued his fatwa, the Egyptian Public Prosecutor had already ordered a general ban on all porn sites in Egypt. His move followed the release of statistics showing "Egypt ranks second in Google’s hit list of sex-related searches among countries worldwide" according to Global Voices.
In spite of Yaqob's decree concerning marriage, Internet searches for gay porn remain rife in Egypt, along with searches for animal sex. The Prosecutor's ban on Internet porn sites has raised alarm among some Egyptians that further Internet censorship may follow.