Indonesian clerics want rules for Facebook

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May 21, 2009 16:49

 
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Muslim clerics are seeking ways to regulate online behavior in Indonesia, saying the exploding popularity of social networking sites like Facebook could encourage illicit sex. Around 700 clerics, or imams, gathering in the world's most populous Muslim nation on Thursday were considering guidelines forbidding their followers from going online to flirt or engage in practices they believe could encourage extramarital affairs. Inside Facebook, an independent Palo Alto, Calif.-based blog dedicated to tracking the site, says Indonesia, a nation of 235 million, was the fastest-growing country in Southeast Asia for the site in 2008, with a 645 percent increase to 831,000 users. It is already the most visited site in Indonesia, and with less than 0.5 percent of Indonesia's citizens wired, there is a huge potential for growth. "The clerics think it is necessary to set an edict on virtual networking, because this online relationship could lead to lust, which is forbidden in Islam," said Nabil Haroen, a spokesman for the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school, which was hosting the event.

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