Netherlands: Online Islamic sex-shop opens for business

Netherlands: Online Islamic sex-shop opens for business

Abdelaziz Aouragh is a Muslim, lives in Amsterdam, and deals in sex articles. His webshop El Asira, which is for Muslims, will soon be selling Pure Power capsules which "heighten male performance, desire and pleasure", Desire capsules for women, sensual stimulators for him and her and lubricants based on cocoa butter, water or silicon. El Asira calls itself "the first Islamic online webshop for sex articles and care products". Its webshop should be open for business starting this weekend.

The combination of Islam and sex products is not an obvious one. When Aouragh's business partner Stefan Delsink suggested selling sex items, Aouragh was dubious. A day later he agreed. "I knew that Muslims do have a need for sex products. People bring them back from the Middle East and give them to young couples," he said.

Not knowing whether his religion would allow the trade in sex products, Aouragh visited an imam, who in turn consulted a Saudi sheik. It was allowed, he learned, as long as the products are halal and are meant to improve sex within marriage. "There is even a fatwa on the subject." That just left the problem of how to tell his parents. "It's a forbidden subject for the first generation here,” he said. Whenever his parents bring the matter up, Aouragh tries to quickly change the subject. “I tell them: yes, um, could I have some more tea?”

Abdelaziz Aouragh (29) is an orthodox Muslim with a Dutch trading instinct. He was born in the east of Amsterdam to a Moroccan carpenter. He has a pointed nose, a tuft of hair on his chin and thin oval glasses. He works at Schiphol airport assisting disabled transit passengers. His wife was born in Morocco and they have a three-year-old daughter. Last year they went on their first hadj, a pilgrimage to Mecca.

As well as making money, Aouragh wants his sex shop to change the image of Islam as hostile to women. "The image of women in the kitchen, submissive, dressed in a burkah isn't true. There is a lot of love. Islam has a lot of respect for women. Our shop puts the woman at the centre of things." The webshop also offers information and people can find answers to their questions there.

The imam who advised El Asira is Boularia Houari, a 35-year-old glass fibre cable technician who gives Koran lessons and preaches on request at various mosques. He is with Aouragh for our second meeting. He has a beard, speaks poor Dutch and wears a black cap. He says he gives sexual advice to many married people. "People are afraid of Viagra; it's a medicine. In Islam there are herbs which help. Poppy seed oil, pure honey. Scholars recommend these too."


Source: NRC (English)