Houthi Mufti issues a fatwa against Internet in Yemen

On September 25, 2017, it was published that the mufti of the Houthi militia in Yemen, Shams al-Deen Sharad al-Deen, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) forbidding the use of Internet as “it leads to corruption.”

Houthi forces enforced the fatwa in the village of Qabal, located in Hamdan district of Sanaa governorate. According to locals, the militia men shot down several houses with WiFi routers. The Houthi supervisor in the area, Mohammed al-Samini, destroyed such devices in every house and sent a copy of the fatwa to the residents.

Villagers also described a case where one of the residents refused to take down the WiFi device in his house and was met with Houthi fire on his house and at the device on the roof. He was also beaten until he bled.

According to reports, residents of Yemen were concerned that after the release of the above fatwa, the Houthi militia would expand its searches and actions targeting Internet users in the country.

About the Author
Tal Pavel, PhD, of Bar Ilan University, is an expert on the Internet in the Middle East and the Islamic world. He lectures at Netanya College's School of Communications. He is the founder and director of MiddleEasterNet, which researches and advises on online threats from the Middle East and Islamic world. Dr. Pavel has also worked in numerous capacities in the Israeli high-tech world over the previous decade, and has published numerous papers in his area of expertise.
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