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Saudi cleric prohibits Snapchat's selfie filters Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Saudi cleric prohibits Snapchat's selfie filters

Saudi Arabia had the highest percentage of teenagers using Snapchat in the Middle East [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2016

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Saudi cleric Naser al-Omar has urged his followers on Twitter to "refrain from tampering with the image of the human face just to make people laugh."
Snapchat's selfie filters are "forbidden," ruled a controversial Saudi cleric over his social media account on Sunday.

Naser al-Omar urged his followers on Twitter to refrain from "tampering with the image of the human face and the creation of God just to make people laugh."

The smartphone application, used mostly to share photos and videos, has become hugely popular across the Gulf.

Recent additions to the app include comic filters that transform a user's selfie photos into animal faces, famous personalities, gothic makeup and landscapes.

While not naming the application, Naser al-Omar referred to the popular photo-messaging app when he censured "photography" that aided in "distorting the image of the face" to "make people laugh.

Translation: There are multiple issues with the distortion of a person's image, including prohibited photography, distorting the creation of God and lying to make people laugh. (He who avoids suspicious activities has protected his beliefs and honour)

The cleric who has over a million followers on Twitter has previously been accused of inciting hatred.

Critics of the cleric on Twitter argued that while the Saudi cleric censured photography, his own picture was displayed on the social networking site. 

Translation: Nasser al-Omar and others like him have prohibited many things across time, including telephones, satellite dishes, cellphones and photography but now they use them widely themselves.

Last year, Saudi Arabia had the highest percentage of teenagers using the mobile phone application in the Middle East.

Earlier this month voice and video calls as made via the widely-used Facebook Messenger service were blocked in the kingdom.

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