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Website sells Shariah-approved sex aids to Muslims

By Atika Shubert, CNN
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Amsterdam's Muslim sex shop
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • El Asira says it is the world's first online shop for the "sexual health" of Muslims
  • All the products have been vetted to be Shariah-compliant
  • The owner, Abdelaziz Aouragh, says the shop is for the sexual health of Muslim couples
  • Over 70,000 people visited the site in the first days after its launch

Amsterdam, The Netherlands (CNN) -- The El Asira home page is a discreet design with two simple links for men and women. The only clue to its content are the small blue and pink hearts at the top of the page.

El Asira says it is the world's first online shop for the "sexual health" of Muslim couples. Its website sells "kissable glamour creme for nipples and lips" and other products, mostly lubricants and herbal pills.

Each one of these has been vetted to be Shariah-compliant, says Abdelaziz Aouragh, the entrepreneur behind El Asira.

"The important thing is the research you have to do with the scholars, mainly in Saudi Arabia," Aouragh told CNN. "Our concerns are marketing, pictures, language, and for products that need to be consumed, the ingredients. So, the whole package actually, the marketing tools that you use carefully need to comply with Shariah."

Aouragh is adamant that the El Asira is not a "halal sex shop." Rather, he says, these are products designed for the discerning customer who wants to "invest in their sexual health" without being bombarded by the graphic images of sex-shop advertisers.

The whole package, the marketing tools that you use, carefully need to comply with Shariah.
--Abdelaziz Aouragh, entrepreneur behind El Asira online sex shop
RELATED TOPICS
  • Islam
  • Middle East
  • Religion
  • Relationships
  • Sexuality
  • Sharia Law

"It's not a sex shop. Not at all," he said. "The philosophy behind El Asira is that we're focusing on sexual well being, sexual health of Muslim couples -- but also people who are non-Muslim."

The El Asira website has no images of nude women or men. In fact, there are no photos of people at all. Instead, the products are tastefully displayed with understated colors and designs.

On its opening day, El Asira was swamped with visitors, more than 70,000 in the first few days, temporarily overwhelming and shutting down the website. After adding capacity, El Asira is doing well with about 30,000 visits a week.

Aouragh seems bemused by all the attention he has received from Western media. Islam and sex are not incompatible at all, he says.

The site hopes to add lingerie soon and is considering opening a chain of boutique stores in the Middle East.

"Where do they think all the babies come from?" he said. "Knowing that in Mecca you can buy lingerie and buy certain sexual health products is enough. You can't get more halal than that."

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