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Pornography: the big business and latest craze in the Muslim world


By Dr Aslam Abdullah,

Every second some 30,000 men and women visit a porn website. 70 percent of them are males between the ages of 18 and 34. Women account for 25 percent. These visitors account for 35 percent internet downloads and they generate some 2.5 billion sex related e mails daily. Pornographic websites occupy 12 percent of the web space, yet they generate billions of dollars every year, some $13 billion in US alone

Of these 30,000 visitors the majority come from the following countries Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco, Iran, Egypt Vietnam, Poland and the Philippines. Six of them are Muslim majority states with 37 percent of the Muslim would population. However Utah tops the list of the cities with highest number o paid subscribers of the porno site users.

The statistics coming from web search engines are quite revealing and shocking. In gay sex Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Iran are among the top most countries. In animal sex Pakistan tops the list in pig, donkey, goat, cat horse, moneky, snake, bear and elephant sex categories while Saudi Arabia heads the list in fox sex.

Almost all of these Muslim countries have blocked websites promoting pornography, yet people find creating methods to log on and enjoy it now even on their smartphones. It is estimated that some 30 percent smart phone holders use the device to take care of their lust. Imagine, the number of users in the Muslim world, if internet access becomes free and unblocked and if the internet is available to all.

Religious groups have called for a ban on pornographic sites. The existing censorship of such sites in the Muslim world proves that it would not make any significant change. It is a problem that requires serious and urgent attention if we want to avoid the damaging after effects of porn viewing.

Despite an overwhelming number of Muslim youth getting exposed to all sorts of pornography, there is strong resistance to sex related education in schools and religious institutions on the part of education experts as well as religious clergy in the Muslim world. There is not much written about this issue among Muslims. There are few clerics who are willing to tackle this issue in their Friday sermons or religious discourses. Not only in the Muslim world, but in US and Europe where sex education has become part of school curriculum, Muslim institutions have been hesitant to introduce it as a subject within their moral framework.

If extraordinary measures are not taken care immediately, the entire world would plunge into a state of affairs where sex related deviations would become normative for all. The way to handle this situation is to develop effective educational tools to be used at home and at schools and seminaries and other institutions of learning.

At what age, a child should be exposed to this education would be a challenging question. What would be included and excluded in the discussion and discourse would be another. How would one respond to the ever changing scenario within a ethical framework would be another challenging issue. Apparently, Muslim scholarship tend to believe that by reciting the verse of the Quran: “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).(17:32) is not going to solve the problem. After all there are instances that suggest that those who have memorized the Quran and often teach it to others are also among the violators of this verse. Reminding people of hadith dealing with sex related issues alone would not convince the people to avoid porn sites. One has to focus on the causes for such a habit and address the its root effectively. The religious clergy in its present intellectual capacity is unable to address the issue. We need a larger pool of experts in all aspects of life to focus on this. Such an effort would be more meaningful if it is addressed at interfaith level as ever religious community is involved in it. The least can be done is to talk about the problem openly with youth who are its most frequent users.

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