Indonesia: Muslim Cleric Warns Believers Against Selfies

Felix Siauw

A Muslim cleric in Indonesia recently warned believers against taking selfies, telling them those who take selfies commit sin by succumbing to ostentation, pride and arrogance. Felix Siauw, who posted a series of tweets at the end of January, explaining why believers should refrain from taking selfies, reserved his most appalling comments however for women.


Calling them shameless and impure, Siauw, who has more than one million followers on Twitter, said he is speechless every time women upload not one, not two, but multiple pictures of themselves at a time.

“These days many Muslim women take selfies without shame. There are usually nine frames in one photo with facial poses that are just – My Goodness – where’s the purity in women?” he questioned.

He also went on to call those who take selfies, desperate for views on social media, explaining how this urge makes them ostentatious and arrogant.

However, Siauw’s tweets received a huge backlash on the microblogging site, where hundreds of Indonesians started to post selfies against the hashtag #Selfie4Siauw.



Such a backlash on Twitter was last seen after a prominent religious scholar in Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa against snowmen earlier this year following a bout of snowfall in the Middle East that led to Saudis building men and camels out of snow. Mohammed Saleh Al Minjed said the creation of any living creature out of snow was blasphemous before going  on to declare the western tradition an insult to Islam.

“God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on,” he wrote.

Obviously, the bizarre fatwa received a frosty reception on social media, with Saudis saying how the ruling took the joy out of the unusual weather.

“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun. It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee,” wrote blogger Mishaal.

In 2014, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates (GAIAE) issued another bizarre fatwa against living on Mars, alleging an attempt to live on the planet would be dangerous and the same as committing suicide, an act that is not acceptable in Islam. The committee said, the concerned astronauts, who would be giving up their lives for no good reason, would face similar consequences in their afterlife as those who kill themselves. Since its inception in 2008, the GAIAE has issued as many as two million fatwas from its official center.

In Malaysia on the other hand, Muslim clerics have issued fatwas against anything and everything alien to Islam – from practicing yoga to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Fatwas have also been issued against the celebration of Halloween, which is believed to have pagan roots; black metal, which is believed to be powerful enough to make Muslims abandon their faith; and botox, which can be used only if it is considered medically necessary. In order to ‘help’ Muslims keep up with the endless rulings, an e-fatwa website has been launched as well.

Zainah Anwar, a women’s rights activist in Malaysia, recently said Muslims are tired of being told over and over again of what practices need to be condemned, hated and declared deviant. Anwar’s own group Sisters in Islam has earlier received a fatwa for overtly pushing liberalism.

Photo Credits: Metro TV News & Daily Mail

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