Iranian Establishment Makes New Social Media Foray With Imam Site
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Hadinet.ir is Iran’s latest foray into the social media sphere, the domain of young, middle-class Iranians that's often reserved for poking fun at state policies and religious rulings.
The new social-networking site is devoted to Imam Naghi, a Shi'ite saint. Employing a basic layout, it features a collection of quotes attributed to the imam and posts by members who express their love and devotion to the ninth-century figure.
Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency says the site, which will be officially unveiled on May 23 by Iran's Culture Minister, is a reaction to "insults" against the imam.
But critics, including many ordinary Iranians, say the site will likely join the list of previous, largely unsuccessful attempts by the establishment to make use of social networking.
Many young Iranians say they are unlikely to be interested in the new site.
Mehr's mention of "insults" toward the imam appears to be a reference to a popular Facebook page titled, "The Campaign to Remind Shi'ites about Imam Naghi," which satirizes political and religious sayings and attributes them to him.
The page says it was launched to eliminate "superstitions" from Iranian society with humor. It is also a reaction to a rap song titled "Naghi," which has been deemed insulting. The song was widely shared on social networking sites.
Hard-liners have blasted the satirical page as highly offensive and vowed to take measures against those behind it.
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