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TAM: Cucumber “Fatwa” Seems to Be Only Shoddy Reporting

Sexy Bananas

Sexy Bananas

The loons are having a field day spreading a ridiculous rumor about an Islamic cleric who supposedly issued a fatwa warning women not to get near bananas and cucumbers because long, slender fruits and vegetables might inspire “sexy thoughts.” Supposedly he also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.

Various anti-Muslim hate sites seized the opportunity to ridicule Muslims, including the infamous Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs. In No Cucumbers or Bananas for you, Slut!, Pamela Geller makes a nauseating attempt at humor at the expense of Muslims:

Obama say, “Respect it!” Jay Leno’s wife Mavis say, “The Qur’an is more liberal with women than the Bible.” Geller say, “One banana split, please, and a side of cukes, with extra whipped creme, thankyouverymuch.

Hell knows, whenever I am feeling lonely or blue, I head down to D’Agostinos and I perk right up again.

Seriously, this is a war on women, about women and ultimately to control women. Women are the ultimate booty, the spoils of war, chattel.

Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim investigated and concluded the rumor was unsubstantiated and a result of “shoddy reporting”:

Cucumber “fatwa” seems to be only shoddy reporting

by Sheila Musaji
There was supposedly a fatwa written which would deserve ridicule if it exists.  The original article about this was posted on Bikyamasr, an Egyptian news site, and the article was written by an individual named Manar Ammar.  Manar Ammar is identified as a Senior Reporter and Women’s Editor for Bikyamasr.com.

The article quotes an UNNAMED Islamic Cleric residing in Europe who “has banned women from touching bananas, cucumbers and other elongated fruit and vegetable due to their sexual resemblance”  The Bikyamasr article refers to the source as “The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news”.

I tried searching for el-Senousa news, but got nowhere.  There is no site for any such entity.  I can find nothing about them searching the net except for hundreds of articles reposting the article from Bikyamasr which mentions el-Senousa as its source.

Muna Khan at al Arabiya reports the same problems I had in finding the actual source of this story, and says “According to the Canadian news site Straight.com, it’s been difficult to find the El-Senousa site on which Bikya Masr based its article on. A simple search of the website takes you to a list of articles on the story being quoted but not to the main site itself.”  She points out that there have been enough of what I call “stupid fatwas” to make anything easy to believe, but, it is an irresponsible rush to judgement to just assume something is true and publish it without any fact checking.

I found the article from Straight here, and it says “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.

This article was immediately picked up and posted with appropriate anti-Muslim comments by just about every site in the Islamophobic echo chamber.

Robert Spencer posted the “story” from Bikyamasr on Jihad Watch and included in his lede “It’s all about controlling women, like so many aspects of Islamic law. Sharia Alert from Eurabia”.

The always ladylike Pamela Geller posted this on Atlas Shrugs under the heading No cucumbers or bananas for you, slut!  and included in the lede “Obama say, “Respect it!” Jay Leno’s wife Mavis say, “The Qur’an is more liberal with women than the Bible.” Geller say, “One banana split, please, and a side of cukes, with extra whipped creme, thankyouverymuch.”

Weazel Zippers simply posted the article with no lede, but the comments their readers posted in response are truly hateful.  For example: — ALL of Islam is a plague, a disease of the mind and soul.Folks there is going to be a war—-I mean a real war where winner takes all and these animals will gladly die for their cause so we better get ready to do the same…..and I don’t ever again want to hear the term moderate muslim….my reply to that is show me one—just one.

You get the idea about the response to this article, and that response is not to a particular unknown shaikh, but to all Muslims.  Perhaps the author of the article and the Egyptian site that posted it are unaware that there is a problem with Islamophobia out there.

Why would anyone post an article about an unnamed person residing somewhere in one of the 47 countries of Europe who had supposedly issued a stupid fatwa without any corroborating evidence that this was even true.  What is the point of raising this issue in such a thoughtless way?  This is not a satirical article making fun of the stupidity involved in such a fatwa.  This is not an article that provides concrete facts about the author of the fatwa, or that provides any counter arguments.  There are no facts here that others could use to counter the fatwa, or to make a judgement about the author.

Whatever the reason that Bikyamasr had for posting this bit of unsubstantiated nonsense, the only effect it has had was to give the Islamophobes yet another item to use for years to come to bash Muslims.  This article was not just irresponsible, it was as stupid as the supposed fatwa would be if it in fact exists.

I would like to see either a clarification of the article with actual information about the supposed fatwa and its supposed author (that can be verified), or an apology for engaging in reckless speculation and passing on of rumors.

It’s not as if we don’t have enough actual members of the Muslim lunatic fringe that need to be countered, that we need to make them up.

UPDATE 12/10/2011

I received an email from the Founder and Editor of Bikyamasr:

Thank you for your email. I am Joseph Mayton, the Editor and Founder of Bikyamasr.com. I would like to bring your attention to the corrected version of the article, which now has the appropriate name of the publication where the information first appeared in Arabic, with a link.

We take full responsibility for this error and have stated so on the article. It is unfortunate that it has been taken out of context, but we feel that by talking about the anger it initially sparked was properly done. At the end, these places are going to take any little bit of information for their own purposes. It is sad.

I hope you will understand that we do our utmost to source anything from a third party, as any other news website would.

If you have any other questions, or would like to interview me, or our staff, please let us know.

Thank you very much for the email, Joseph

The article now lists the source of this “fatwa” as el-Sawsana news and the link takes you to a site that is only in Arabic.  I don’t speak Arabic, so am unable to make out what the original article of this “news” item might have been.

I received a second email from Joseph Mayton asking me to check out a follow up article that they have now posted Cucumber sheikh “far from the truth,” says Egypt Islamic leader.  This new article quotes Sheikh Gaber Taye’ Youssef, identified as “An Islamic scholar and chairman at Egypt’s Religious Endowments Ministry said this sheikh could not be more “far from the truth.” …  He expressed serious doubts that the sheikh sourced is even qualified for his position.  “Nonesense and wrong, such talk is empty of any logic or sense and has no roots or relations with Islam or its belief system,” said Youssef when Bikyamasr.com interviewed him over the phone early on Saturday.

Sheikh Youssef’s opinion is exactly what any mainstream Muslim already knew.

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  • Truth Hurts

    @iknowyoudon’t December 14th, 2011 at 4:21 pm > Heard about the Salvation “ARMY” in Russia?

  • iknowyoudon’t

    Ergh, I hope people realize it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. With the crazies these days, apparently everything is taken as face-value.

  • iknowyoudon’t

    As a Muslim Sheikh from the long lost land of Blowupeveryoneistan, I also wanted to let you know about our new ruling: That any gay male Muslims must stay away from cucumbers and bananas, just as any lesbian female Muslims must stay away from Georgia O’Keefe paintings.

  • TheBig_T

    @twiceasnice
    “Religion is generally dumb and all religious figures of all stripes say the most stupid things.I don’t know why you get so up tightreligion is a fairytale”
    good for you, now take that bullshit with you back to Jihadwatch or where ever your bosses sent you from.
    If you dont like religion, then y come here

    (please note that i have nothing against atheists, but this moron is an exception)

  • Mohamed S.

    As a native arabic speaker, I’ve read the original article on el-Sawsana and it does not name this Sheik either.

    Unlike Farha Khaled above, I don’t know if its satire or not even though the article seems to be in jest and has no author. It’s in the “Light news” section with other articles that appear to be genuine.

  • twiceasnice

    Religion is generally dumb and all religious figures of all stripes say the most stupid things. I don’t know why you get so up tight religion is a fairytale.

  • Géji

    Hi llisha, thanks for the reply, indeed they are running wild with much ease and room.

  • RDS

    Well we all know that the only cucumbers we are talking about are the QQmbers that Pam G, JWatch et al. regularly eats to satisfy their egos.

  • @Géji

    “…what do exactly this people mean when they say ‘Islam should be wiped off the planet.'”

    I don’t know, but it disturbs me even more when comments end with “lock ‘n load,” as I’ve seen several times on The Blaze and elsewhere.

    The good news is more and more people from all backgrounds are challenging the hate mongers. I think the danger of letting them run wild is increasingly being recognized.

  • Pamela

    The nuts are at it again.

  • Géji

    >“Islam is not a Religion….its a ridiculous deathcult that should be wiped off the planet.””

    Hi llisha, I know you’re not a reader of the hate filled minds, none of us are, but I must ask, what do exactly this people mean when they say “Islam should be wiped off the planet”, is that a “code” for a genocide call among the extreme anti-Muslims? I mean are they substituting the word Islam for Muslims so that they don’t get questioned about their intentions and motives?. Please don’t think I’m paranoid or anything, but it’s just that I’ve always wondered about this ridiculous yet frightening phrase that is toss around and quite popular among the hardline elements of Islamophobia. Did anyone ask them how are they planning to “wipe off” Islam without it’s adherents?

  • Ilisha

    It crossed my mind that Bikyamasr may have done this for publicity. Note Joseph’s comments after his publication got ‘caught’ out. If this was so, then well.. lol

    Sheikh Qardawi issued a ruling that said females could masturbate if necessary (presumabely if they’re not married), so I don’t know why this would be even news:)

  • Is this silly rumor really international news that should be in the major media?

    “The Daily News reported that 19,000 people had shared the article via Facebook.”
    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/11/phallic-fatwa-bans-certain-foods-for-muslim-women/

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2072488/Muslim-cleric-warns-cucumbers-sexy-women-bans-penis-shaped-foods.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/muslim-cleric-reportedly-warns-cucumbers-too-sexy-for-women-to-handle/story-e6freuy9-1226219581985

    and…

    Notorious Islamophobe Asra Nomani (see some of the comments!):

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/10/the-fatwa-against-women-touching-bananas-and-other-stupid-islamic-orders.html

    Sample comments on the Daily Beast:

    “These are more reasons to add to the justification list for Lowe’s to sponsor advertising to support the TLC show about your average Muslim living in America. Banning bananas and beheading women for sorcery. Oh, yeah, we’re just dying to know more here about the kind of people that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Nice bunch.”

    “Shows just how radically insane this religion and their gods are.”

    “Islam is not a Religion….its a ridiculous deathcult that should be wiped off the planet.”

    The fact this is NEWS at all says a lot about the current climate.

  • Khushboo

    The loons apparently don’t understand satire.

  • Bikyamasr did not link to the original they based their story on which is here.

    شيخ يحرم على المرأة اكل الموز والخيار منعا للاستثارة الجنسية

    http://www.assawsana.com/portal/newsshow.aspx?id=58893

    It was tabloid style reporting. Tongue in cheek type satire!

  • Khushboo

    @Crow, well part of it is propagands, other part is ignorance, and the rest I think lost their minds due to the economy. Our country has really dumbed down. That’s the only thing I agree with Bill Maher about.

  • Crow

    Yeah, it’s crap but Islamaphobes aren’t very well-educated and will belive anything because they’re also filled with hate. Look at spenser or geller or any other site…their filled with hate and idiocy.

  • Khushboo

    Geller’s running out of stories so this is all she can come up with. So sad! Maybe she should write non-fiction for a change!

  • Stoned Gremlin

    This is the kind of thing you do in a parody >.>

    Then again the way some Muslim countries enforce the Shariah is nothing more than a joke… just not the funny kind.

  • @Goolam Dawood

    If every Muslim on the planet knows this is rubbish, what type of a publication publishes it in the first place? Desperately seeking hits?

    What about non-Muslims? Many sites are spreading this unsubstantiated rumor. Even mainstream sites:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/12/08/muslim-cleric-reportedly-bans-women-from-handling-cucumbers/

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/local_news/water_cooler/Bananas,-other-sexually-charged-produce-off-limits-for-Islamic-women-in-alleged-fatwa-law

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/supposed-fatwa-bans-women-touching-bananas-cucumbers-article-1.989930

    When an article like this goes viral, it must be addressed. Many people already believe enough crazy, unsubstantiated rumors about Islam.

  • Goolam Dawood

    While you’ve asked the obvious questions about the article, why aren’t asking the obvious questions about the news source? If every Muslim on the planet knows this is rubbish, what type of a publication publishes it in the first place? Desperately seeking hits? Why is the author herself not available for comment? And whats up with this obviously well funded but obviously unread news source? How does this news source describe the American invasions of Libya or the Israeli occupation? Does it deal with facts or populist rhetoric around democracy? Its obvious this article, the editor and its news are loaded for presenting the middle east in a specific way.

  • mindy1

    Cukes and carrots were always my favorite veggies 😉 but the fact that they print this without verifying it shows their agenda yet again 🙄

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