Men and women should be forbidden from interacting with one another on social networks since these conversations could lead to sin, a leading Saudi cleric ruled on Saturday.

According to the Saudi daily al-Eqtisadiya, Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, who holds a seat on the Saudi Committee of Senior Scholars, said that cross-gender communication online falls under the category of khulwa, which is an Islamic term that denotes a situation where a man and a woman are alone in a room.

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According to Al-Arabiya, the sheikh told a Saudi radio station that "the devil would be present when women talk to men." He said that women should be dissuaded from speaking to men through social media, even if the nature of the conversation is asexual.

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