Indonesian cleric Felix Siauw took to Twitter last week to protest the popularity and usage of selfies in his country, arguing that selfies force Muslims to submit to pride and arrogance, which are considered sins under the strict Islamic laws.
Siauw saved his harshest criticisms for women in particular, writing “These days many Muslim women are taking 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?”
The cleric’s comments caused an uproar in the community, where social media and smartphones are quite popular. Citizens have continued to take selfies, now including the hashtag #selfie4siauw.
The popularity of the selfie has expanded to Saudi Arabia, where a rare snowfall allowed Saudis to have fun building snowmen and snow camels, taking selfies with their creations after they were completed.
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Saudi scholar Mohammed Saleh Al Minjed, issuing a fatwa, stated that building snowmen or animals was an insult to the Islamic religion. He believes objects, such as ships or buildings, could be built, but not animals.
He said “God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on.”
As they did in Indonesia, many Saudis voiced their opposition to the fatwa, with one blogger stating, “We have snow for fleeting days, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun. It seems like the only thing left to us is to sit down and drink coffee.”
Not everyone was against Al Minjed. One of his supporters wrote, “It has no value in our traditions ... those fascinated by the West should emulate their inventions and sciences, not their culture.”