Clerics in India have denounced "Facebook selfies" as un-Islamic and forbidden Muslim girls from posting pictures of themselves on social networks.
Two leading helplines for young Muslims seeking guidance have warned teenagers that in Islam the only men who should see their faces are close relatives and their husbands.
Their edict will be difficult to enforce within India's growing ranks of middle class Muslims among whom social networking is as popular as it is in the West.
Sunni and Shia clerics have warned them, however, that true relationships and friendships cannot be made over the internet and that it is wrong for girls to project their charms online.
Maulana Tauquir Raza Khan, president of the Itehad-e-Millat Council, in Barelli, Uttar Pradesh said Muslim girls were at risk on social networks.
"Uploading pictures on Facebook or other social networking sites should be avoided. As per the Islamic traditions showing your face to unknown and unrelated men is prohibited. Moreover, these pictures can be misused by any person. Social networking sites should be used for better things than displaying ones physical beauty," he said.
Mufti Abul Irfan Naimul Halim Firagni Mahli, a leading Sunni figure who runs a popular Islamic helpline, told the Press Trust of India that while it was permissible for Muslims to use social network sites, like Facebook and Twitter, for business, it was forbidden to seek relationships on them.
"You can't see someone's face on Facebook and decide that you want to be friends or look love in real life. Virtual relationships are not profitable. If one is on Facebook for business purposes or for constructive purposes, then the account is justifiable," he said.
More than half the 1000 calls he fields per month are from callers seeking moral advice on using the web, he said.
Another cleric, Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi, said posting photographs on Facebook was simply "haram" - forbidden.
"We are liberal. We are not Taliban-minded. When youngsters ask us if they can have a Facebook or Twitter profile, we allow that. But the Shariah does not allow women to post pictures, he said.
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