Iranian cleric issues fatwa against 3G and high-speed Internet

The President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani has called on the country's clerics to have a more open mind towards the Internet and other technologies, after a leading cleric declared high-speed internet to be "against Sharia" and "against moral standards". 

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran noted that Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi had issued a fatwa last week against "all third generation [3G] and high-speed internet services, prior to realization of the required conditions for the National Information Network" (NIN). The NIN is Iran's state-controlled and heavily-restricted and censored version of the internet, which remains in development. 

The cleric insisted that "judicial officials must not remain indifferent about this vital issue." Conservative factions in the country's parliament oppose President Rouhani's plans to significantly increase connection speeds across Iran, where authorities routinely throttle speeds to virtually unusable levels in a bid to restrict access to the world wide web. Many in the government favor severing access to the internet completely, allowing citizens to access only the state-approved NIN. 

President Rouhani - a moderate among many hard-liners in Iran's political class - has frequently spoken in support of improving availability and access to the web. Earlier this year, he said: "We should see the cyberworld as an opportunity. Why are we so shaky? Why don’t we trust our youth?"

As BBC News reports, President Rouhani spoke on national television yesterday to respond to the fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Shirazi, insisting that it is vital for young people to have access to the internet. "We cannot close the gates of the world to our younger generation," he said. "If we do not move towards the new generation of mobile today and resist it, we will have to do it tomorrow; if not, the day after tomorrow." 

Authorities in Iran regularly attempt to restrict access not just to the internet but also to individual apps that are deemed improper, with bans on WhatsApp and Instagram in the last few months alone. 

Source:  International Campaign for Human Rights in IranBBC News 

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21 Comments

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LOL, no, they are just afraid, that even with their strict walled off society, what's going on outside of their restricted freedoms, people in that impoverished country will see that living in the 15th century is stupid and there is more to the world than how they have lived. Information will get into Iran, and that scares the dictators more than anything.

i fully agree for this fatwa: Iran should have 4G or even better high speed Internet, not 3G, that's so last year!

I call for this drongo to be stoned (literally give him a bag of weed) then lets see him order pizza when he gets the munchies

Well... The Quran specifically calls out the internet, it says literally "all internets shall be banned".. how they saw so far into the future only amazes me

Actually it mentions vague references to networked minds hiding sins. So they should be OK until ad-hoc BCIs become common place. Speed of the connection is not mentioned.

Rosyna said,
I don't understand how faster internet can be against Sharia law. Or any religious law…

It's not. But any idiot can make up random stupid idiotic laws and "append" them to religion. This is the fundamental weakness in the concept of religion.

No offence to Muslims, Jews or Christians here but the idea of religious figures is just nonsense from Ayatollah to Popes (even-though I like the current Pope) to whoever else because those positions are easily abused especially when associated with politics. It's not like god chose this Ayatollah as a figure of authority so his credibility is nonexistent.
The same thing applies in ALL religions.
And sadly, in certain places, this malpractice of religion is intentional to control people.

Rouhani seems to be trying to be a more moderate President than his nutjob predecessor,
yet despite his somewhat more liberal stance on various issues, Iran still has Ayatollahs
that are determined to keep the country stuck firmly in the past.

The days of President I'm-a-dinner-jacket are gone, but these clerics don't like it!

DJGM said,
Rouhani seems to be trying to be a more moderate President than his nutjob predecessor,
yet despite his somewhat more liberal stance on various issues, Iran still has Ayatollahs
that are determined to keep the country stuck firmly in the past.

It's really not all that different to the US and the extreme-right conservatives who are both racist and sexist - you just replace Ayatollahs with Christian extremists (see: Bryan Fischer, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Glenn Beck, etc). Obama is somewhat progressive but is held back by the conservative elements of the nation.

Rouhani has achieved an incredible amount for such a conservative country.