The religious directive forbids women from handling bananas or cucumbers, because their phallic shape may "make them think of sex," according to The Times of India.

"If women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve," the cleric supposedly dictated.

Carrots and zucchinis pose a similar threat, according to the Muslim decree.

The supposed fatwa first appeared in the religious publication el-Senousa, according to Fox News. An independent, English-language news Web site called Bikya Masr then published a story about it on Dec. 6, which spread rapidly through social media.

As of Saturday night, 19,000 people had shared the Bikya Masr article through Facebook and over 3,400 had tweeted it, according to social media buttons appearing at the bottom of the post.

News of the supposed fatwa also moved through the Muslim community via email listservs carrying the headline "Did an Islamic cleric really ban women from touching bananas and cucumbers?" The Daily Beast reports.

The order has drawn sharp criticism from liberal Muslims.

It's not yet clear whether Muslim scholars are taking the religious pronouncement seriously or if the man who issued it is qualified to do so. The person who originally spoke of the fatwa identified himself as a Muslim cleric residing in Europe, but did not provide a name.

Read more:  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/supposed-fatwa-bans-women-touching-bananas-cucumbers-article-1.989930#ixzz2JXTRldcV