India: Fatwa 'bans watching cartoons'

The Flintstones

Clerics have declared a fatwa - or decree - banning the watching of cartoons, it seems.

Religious leaders at the Darul Uloom seminary, in Deoband, declared that viewing animations - even those featuring comedy characters - was against the tenets of Islam, reports the Bangalore-based Deccan Herald. It quotes senior cleric Mufti Arif Quasmi as saying: "[A] cartoon is a picture. Besides, it is not for the children. It should not be watched." There are many interpretations of Islamic teachings on the depiction of animate objects, with the most strict banning it completely on the basis that it imitates Allah's acts of creation. Other scholars, however, permit photography and video.

The Darul Uloom ruling was criticised by one member of the All India Personal Law Board for "making a mockery" of Islam. "I don't think the muftis who issued the fatwa have any knowledge of the subject or have applied their mind to understanding the art of cartoons at all," the senior Imam told Mumbai-based broadsheet DNA. It's not the first ruling by the seminary to cause controversy. In the past, it's reportedly declared it unlawful for women to use perfume containing alcohol, or to wear tattoos, jeans or "Western hairstyles".

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