A cleric in the world’s most populous Muslim nation has declared selfies a sin

Women in Jakarta pose for a photo.
Women in Jakarta pose for a photo.
Image: Reuters//Beawiharta
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A young Indonesian young cleric is taking a stand against selfies. In a 17- point manifesto posted on Twitter last week, popular Indonesian author and speaker Felix Siauw argued that taking a selfie often means succumbing to pride, arrogance, and ostentation—all of which make them a sin under Islam, according to Siauw.

He specifically criticizes Muslim women, writing, “These days many Muslim women are taking selfies without shame. There are usually nine frames in one photo with facial poses that are just–my goodness–where’s the purity in women?” according to a translation by Coconuts Jakarta.

This isn’t the first time that religious leaders have found fault with selfies. Last year, scholars and clerics criticized Muslims who were documenting their annual pilgrimage to Mecca—also known as the “hajj selfie.”

Siauw’s comments provoked a backlash in Indonesia, where smartphones and social networks are hugely popular. Men and women have been tweeting photos of themselves under the hashtag #selfie4siawu. And the influence of a single cleric may not outweigh the pro-selfie forces—especially since Indonesian president Joko Widodo is a noted selfie fan.