Online Muslim sex shop launched in the Netherlands
3rd April 2010, 4 comments
"We had about 70,000 hits in the first four days," founder Abdelaziz Aouragh told AFP of his site that went online last week and claims to be the world's first erotic webshop for Muslims.
The 29-year-old Dutch national said it targets married Muslim couples as an alternative to sites "that focus on pornography and the extravagant side of erotica" -- things forbidden in Islam.
The home page of El Asira, which means "Society" in Arabic, is a sober black and grey street with a line down the centre, inviting women to enter on the left and men on the right.
Once inside, clients can browse in Dutch, Arabic or English through more than a dozen products, mainly massage oils, lubricants and tablets that claim to act as aphrodisiacs.
All ingredients are halal, or "permissible under Islam", said Aouragh, and conspicuously absent are dildos, vibrators and any type of pornography.
"Most of the other products out there have pictures of naked people or foul language -- it was very difficult to find ones that I could use in my business," he said.
Instead, the website shows only photos of boxes, tablets, tubes and bottles -- mainly in pink or blue with the brand's logo, a black flame.
"We have chosen a respectful approach," it says, proclaiming itself "a novelty in the Islamic world".
In one sense, it is also a very Dutch product -- like Aouragh himself. Of Moroccan parentage, he was born and raised in Amsterdam and remains a practicing Muslim while embracing typically Dutch tolerance and search for consensus.
He says he, like many, used to think Islam looked upon sexuality as taboo until his friend-turned business partner Stefan Delsink prompted him to look further.
"There is a very stereotypical idea both inside and outside the community on Muslim sexuality," he said.
So Aouragh, who is married, set about consulting Islamic religious leaders and scholars to see what his business venture could sell and to whom.
"I have learned a lot about what Islam says about sexuality, about how important it is to have a healthy sex life," he said.
Muslim clerics like Dutch Imam Abdul Jabbar see no harm in Aouragh's site.
"As long as he doesn't sell sex toys or those sorts of things there is no problem," he told AFP, adding: the Prophet Mohammad gave lots of advice about sex in marriage and "there need not be any shame."
Aouragh, who also works for a firm that provides assistance to disabled people in public places like airports, contends his website has another goal, amidst tension over Muslims and Muslim immigrants in Europe.
In the Netherlands -- where Muslims account for five percent of the 16.5 million population -- strains have continued since filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered in 2004 by an Islamic extremist upset over a documentary he made on Muslim women.
Today, support is growing for the far-right, anti-Islamic Party for Freedom (PVV), which some polls suggest is the country's most popular formation. Its leader Geert Wilders wants to ban the Koran, which he likens to Hitler's "Mein Kampf", and wants a tax on wearing head scarves.
"Everybody is talking about Islam in a negative way," said Aouragh. "I am trying to get something positive out of the dark."
"Muslims also have to deal with stereotypical prejudices by some non-Muslims on the topic of sexuality within the Islam," he said.
"We want to share with other Muslims in a positive way our contribution to a broader view of sexuality and eroticism within the Muslim community," the website says, "for Muslims themselves, as for others."
Not all want to enter the debate. Leyla Cakir, chairwoman of the Dutch Muslim women's organisation Al Nisa, told AFP: "This is not a topic with which we choose to involve ourselves".
AFP/ Mariette le Roux/ Expatica
4 comments on this article Add a comment
7th April 2010, 12:29:42 Germjam63 posted:COMPLETELY stupid! They speak with fork tongue!
17th April 2010, 19:08:39 Sex Shop Erotica Bucuresti posted:In Romania musulman cityzens owning commercial spaces forbid to open Erotica shops in the center of Bucharest. See: http://www.erotica.ro
2nd May 2010, 14:09:30 Moiz posted:
All my western liberal minds people. Firstly, Quran/Allah has given women at high place, as a mother-paradise is under her feet, she has full property rights, protect her from non-husband’s wrong view(most of these till recently do not provide to western women). Secondly, Burqa followers are few numbers in numbers, a Party should not win elections on these base. A party should have more serious issues to win election like jobs, housing, health, financial issues and many other facilities; by banning Burqa you will not get automatically all these facilities. Thirdly, how much open society do westerner want ? You don’t mind seeing women in minimum clothing; majority of women do not want to show their body if their body are bulky, why ?. Now, you have allowed same-sex marriages; may be later some people will want man-animal(female) or women-animal(male) relation to be legalized, and so called open society will reach to such a ugly point ; then European people will insist for Burqa/Viel for all western women
12th May 2011, 04:25:26 Mångarm posted:Do they sell blow-up goats? XD