CAIRO: Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, a semi-governmental religious body responsible for issuing fatwas, said Saturday that chatting between male and female strangers on the internet is prohibited unless it is extremely necessary.
Answering an FAQ about religious rules on chatting on Dar al-Ifta’s official website, it said it was prohibited as it will “open the doors of evil, sedition and corruption.”
Dar al-Ifta added in its fatwa that it is acceptable only in extremely necessary situations, “especially nowadays as these kinds of interactions are a waste of time with no benefit.”
The fatwa added that women should not be sending photos of themselves to strangers they don’t know in order to preserve their dignity, as “criminals have used photos of women strangers in bad, harmful ways.”
Amna Noser, a member of the National Council for Women and a professor of religion and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, told Youm7 Saturday that if the conversation was for something useful, then it is fine, “but saying that chatting in general is ‘haram’ (forbidden) is not really realistic, especially as social media has become a huge part of our life and can’t be denied.”
She explained that the reason for this fatwa, according to her point of view, is that “lately social media has become one of the methods that could be used to make girls sound like easy prey for anyone with twisted behavior online. However, it’s obvious what is considered ‘haram’ in chatting and what is ‘halal’ (religiously acceptable).”
Amr Ali, from the Revolutionary Political Bloc, told Al-Dostor Saturday that the fatwa was “weird” and will not find any positive feedback or acceptance among Egyptians.
“Social media was established in the first place to help people socialize. This fatwa takes the religious bodies back by years,” Ali said