An Egyptian news outlet has a report that is causing an unusual stir. According to the Bikya Masr news service, an Islamic cleric in Europe has ordered Muslim women to prevent “sexual thoughts” by staying away from bananas, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, and other phallic produce.
The unnamed sheikh reportedly advises that if women wanted to eat these kinds of food they would need to be cut into smaller pieces, in private, by a man — preferably a relative — because the foods “resemble the male penis” and could “make them think of sex.”
While the report has not been independently verified, it has sparked considerable online conversation.
Bhuvan Sharma joked on Twitter that “We can expect some decrease in Jihadi Terrorism. They will be cutting cucumber or Bananas as suggested.”
Shiraz Hassan tweeted, “Let me say, if touching cucumber is banned then raising minarets should also be banned. No?”
And the Dutch–Lebanese journalist Helen Hajjaj chimed in: “So if Muslim women should stay away from cucumbers and bananas, should men stay away from melons?”
Bikya Masr reports that Muslims’ online responses have been largely negative, with one Muslim noting that the cleric gives Islam “a bad name” and another encouraging him to quit his post.