THE HAGUE – Widely dubbed in the media as the world’s first “halal” sex shop, a Dutch online shop that allegedly promotes Muslims “sexual well-being” has announced an alliance with Europe’s largest erotic retailer to tap into the 1.8 billion Muslim market.
"We will take 18 of our Islamic branded products to the market through Beate Uhse," Abdelaziz Aouragh, the founder of Amsterdam-based El Asira, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Wednesday, June 4.
"Considering we're targeting a (global) market of around 1.8 billion people, the potential is huge," he said.
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Launched four years ago, El Asira, or 'The Society' in Arabic, looks nothing like the kind of site regular visitors to internet sex shops might expect.
With no nudity and nothing sexual on the website, it offers sensual oils based on the highly sought-after agar wood oil to massive acclaim and approval from the local Muslim community.
The “Shari`ah compliant” website also offers different entrances to men and women.
According to Aouragh, Wednesday’s deal with Frankfurt-listed Beate Uhse, Europe's largest erotic retailer, came after two years of negotiations to expand the range of products that do not contravene Shari`ah law.
Beate Uhse, based in Germany's Flensburg, approached El Asira in 2012 with a business proposal to throw its weight behind the Dutch company to market their products.
"We think we can learn a lot from El Asira on how to tap into the Muslim erotic market," Beate Uhse spokeswoman Linda Blommaert told AFP.
Allah created the sexual desire in humans. It is as normal as is the desire for food or shelter.
Yet, Islam is aware of educating man on the proper way of satisfying his desire in the light of its noble teachings.
The venture, according to both Aouragh and Blommaert, is totally different from the traditional sex shop image which contradicts with Islam.
"The products we're putting on the market have nothing to do with blow-up dolls or vibrators," said Aouragh, a second-generation Amsterdammer of Moroccan descent.
"It's not about the sex act, it's what's going on around it. Our products increase the atmosphere and heighten feelings of sensuality," he said.
Beate Uhse is a company that "respects women and presents its products in a woman-friendly environment. That's why we believe there's no conflict in working with them," Aouragh added.
Believed to be the first of its kind, Al-Asira experience was imitated by another so-called “Islamic” online sex shop has opened in Turkey last year to sell “halal” sex products.
Unlike other sex shops, Turkey’s online ‘Islamic’ sex shop sells condoms, massage oils and perfumes only.
Yet, the concept of “halal” sex shops was questioned by different Muslim scholars who criticized the use of the word to justify selling such items to Muslims.
Commenting on the Turkish “halal” sex shop, Dr Wael Shihab, a scholar and Shari`ah researcher, told OnIslam: “In fact, I’m very worried about the overuse of the label ‘Halal’.’
“These days, many people misuse the label “Halal” for commercial goals that are in conflict with Shari`ah (Islamic law) and its values,” he added.
“Therefore, overuse of the label “Halal” may distort the image of the Islamic Shari`ah itself.”
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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