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Society & Culture

Seminaries Ban Social Media

June 30, 2015
IranWire
2 min read
A cleric texts during a meeting with a grand ayatollah
A cleric texts during a meeting with a grand ayatollah
Iranian parliamentarians have been criticized for using their cell phones during the sessions
Iranian parliamentarians have been criticized for using their cell phones during the sessions

Sensing that students may need reminding of the correct way to conduct themselves in the modern world,  Ayatollah Sayyed Hashem Hosseini-Bushehri, the head of Iran’s seminaries, warned against the damaging effects of social media across society. 

In late June, the National Office for Management and Planning of Seminaries issued new guidelines for communication in seminaries across Iran, which effectively ban social media. The new rules, published by Mehr News Agency on June 26, were drafted by the deputy council of seminaries and signed by Hosseini-Bushehri.

Although the ayatollah, who is also a member of Iran’s influential Assembly of Experts, said he was not banning mobile devices or access to internet — insisting it was unnecessary and that students and teachers should simply be encouraged to manage their time effectively — the new bylaw specifically states that students will not be allowed to use any device with “WiFi, iOS, or Android systems”. 

Hosseini-Bushehri, who is Qom's Friday prayer leader, insisted that students had come to Qom and other seminaries to learn, and that nothing should get in the way of their pursuit of education and their efforts to take full advantage of the incredible educational opportunities seminaries had to offer.

Social media posed a particular threat, he said, and participating in online activities should not take priority over educational pursuits. Too much time spent online, he said, could detract from Qom’s wider mission to train and develop Islamic experts and leaders, and could have a detrimental effect on the wider educational community. 

“The new regulations outline the correct methods for communication and use of devices among seminary students,” Hosseini-Bushehri told Mehr News Agency. He said the guidelines would apply to both seminary schools and student accommodation. 

Clause 5 of the new bylaw, reads: “Seminary students in educational and accommodation facilities can only use basic mobile phones without an Android system, WiFi or iOS.” The same clause also insisted that images displayed on the device and ringtones should be “appropriate.”

 

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