Sorry Sheikh, Facebook Is Growing With Or Without You

Cairo Mosque

Facebook is under fire from an Islamic cleric who issued a religious edict against the use of the social networking service.

Growth for Facebook in the Middle East has been explosive with 1.5 million new users joining in October 2009 alone.

Now some religious leaders are beginning to fight back against the growth of the platform in the region, citing its encouragement of extramarital affairs.

“Surfing such websites makes it easier to develop forbidden relations with others … While one spouse is away, the other turns to chatting online, thus wasting time and falls into the trap of illicit affairs,” Sheikh Abdul Hameed Al Attrash of Cairo said to Gulf News.

If opposition to Facebook were to spread in the region for political or religious reasons it could dampen the social network’s growth. We’re sceptical.

It was little more than a year ago that another prominent religious leader, Pope Benedict XVI, warned against “obsessive” virtual socializing. Now the Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ happily collects “fans” on his very own Facebook page.

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