Did an Islamic cleric really ban women from touching cucumbers?

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      There’s a story making the rounds on the internet today about a prudish Islamic cleric “residing in Europe” who thinks women shouldn’t be allowed to handle phallic food items like bananas and cucumbers.

      “He said that these fruits and vegetables ‘resemble the male penis’ and hence could arouse women or ‘make them think of sex’,” reports the Egyptian website bikyamasr.com.

      That’s some pretty good flame-bait, but is it legit? According to the article in bikyamasr.com, the story originally appeared on something called “el-Senousa news”, but good luck finding it. In fact, a Google search for “el-Senousa news” only points back—many times over—to the article in bikyamasr.com.

      Between that and the somewhat intangible location and identity of the “unnamed sheikh” in the article, the tale of the vegetable-fearing Mullah is starting to look a little short on authenticity. What’s more likely is that the independent news service bikyamasr.com is reacting to the troubling emergence of the hard-line Salafi Al-Nou party in Egypt’s (reportedly fraud-ridden) election—a story that, sadly, isn’t so cockamamie.



      Gentleman Jack

      Dec 6, 2011 at 6:30pm

      This is why we need segregated classes in public schools, to keep the bananas and cucumbers away from the young women. Once they get their hands on produce and realize that men are superfluous, they are well nigh uncontrollable.

      equal opportunity

      Dec 6, 2011 at 7:18pm

      I hope it is not going to result in a fatwa and a death penalty against the farmers producing cucumbers!!

      On the other hand, looking at the picture, perhaps the cleric feels that he is undersized, thus the anger!!

      Gentleman Jack

      Dec 6, 2011 at 9:47pm

      It is also studded, presumably for her pleasure.

      perna de pau

      Dec 7, 2011 at 6:52am

      You are right, this is another example of "Poe's law"


      Dec 7, 2011 at 5:44pm

      Congratulations on questioning this article. I've also been looking for 'el-Senousa news' to see where this is coming from. Fun headlines travel the world very quickly - people don't even care if there's any substance to it.


      Dec 7, 2011 at 5:57pm

      Its a sheer lie. If someone was seriously giving this fatwa then he should have said his name. Its just someone mocking with the religion and making despicable fun by quoting an unknown shiekh.

      R U Kiddingme

      Dec 7, 2011 at 10:42pm

      It is mischievous but also politically provocative, which to me suggests a sincere if very ham-handed (pun intended) insensitivity and willingness to agitate. Which is a valid if obnoxious and a little-goes-a-long-way way to be, in this world. It is saying that Islam seems hung up on sex. I say that the cucumber joke is in a way true but in the sense that everyone is hung up on sex, which is, I think we can all agree, a topic of endless relevance. Do clerics make pronouncements on all manner of intimate issues? Sure they do. But so do other priests, preachers, and public persons of all sorts and faiths including atheists, as jokes, anecdotes... you could make the exact same picture into a joke on, say, psychiatrists, Jews, Asians, whites, or blacks... on anyone.

      Jo Jo Dancer

      Dec 9, 2011 at 1:36pm

      The article is wicked and mischievous. It gives Islamophobes like Pam Geller, Robert Spencer and Fox news more opportunity to mock and ridicule Muslims and Islam and indeed, they were the first to make sure this opportunity was not missed. Would not be surprised if they were the ones who started this rumor of a fatwa.


      Dec 9, 2011 at 1:55pm

      I have came across this story many times years ago and I think that the first thing you will think about when you read it, is that you want to verify where this is coming from.

      This piece is based on an article written on 13th of April 2008 by “Ahmad Abu Matar”, a Palestinian writer (google him if interested in more), where he was talking about what muslims are going through. The actual text of the full article in Arabic can be found here:


      As you will see in the original post it was a personal experience shared by the actual writer of a bigger article. What actually happened is that he heard the “Imam” in one of these mosques saying that. He was not really a Muslim cleric/scholar and this “fatwa” was never published nor said in public. What happened is that because of how amusing it is, for years now it has been circulating around to laugh at rather than a piece of legit news but it just surfaced again after three years when it was translated into English.

      These ideas and maybe even worse do come out from Muslim clerics and scholars and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them did say that. But I just really care about making things right.