CYBERSPACE— An article in Al Arabiya yesterday took note of the fact that a handful of porn sites are frequently among the most-visited sites in Islamic countries. The news is not really news, of course, but it takes on an ominous meaning when placed against the apparent decision by the Egyptian government to block access to all porn sites. The opening sentence of the article puts that decision into perspective.
"At least five pornographic websites are among Egypt’s 100 most frequently visited online destinations this year, according to Alexa, a division of Amazon.com that tracks online traffic patterns globally," reported Al Arabiya. "The statistic proves particularly significant as Egyptian web surfers may soon be stripped of all access to Internet pornography sites."
Egypt is certainly not alone among Islamic nations in terms of impressive rankings for porn sites, according to the Alexa findings.
"Similarly, there are seven pornographic sites in Tunisia that appear among the top 100 most visited sites, coming in at numbers 14, 16 and 20 and 49 60 and 93 and 97," stated the article. "In Lebanon, the five most visited sites appear later down the list of 100, at numbers 33, 34, 45 and 52 and 58."
Interestingly, however, "In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, no pornographic sites appear on the list top 100 most-visited sites due to a filtering policy which block the sites, as is the case in most countries in the Gulf."
Pornography is outlawed throughout the Arab Muslim world, which of course has not stopped people from accessing it online, so it's a safe bet to assume that Egypt likes what it sees in terms of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait filtering content. But make no mistake, as AVN has reported, the move by Egypt's newly elected government to censor the internet is not being interpreted as having anything to do with porn, but as a first step toward a more general muzzling of the people.
Let's not forget that it was less than years ago that, as we reported at the time, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "shut down the country’s internet in an effort to quell protests against corruption, inflation and lack of free speech."