In a ridiculously repressive and absurd proposal, an Islamic cleric residing in Europe has said in a ruling that women should not touch or be anywhere close to bananas and cucumbers, in order to avoid sexual thoughts.

An unnamed sheikh was quoted in a religious publication, el-Senousa News, as saying that if a woman wished to eat cucumbers or bananas, it should be sliced into pieces, preferably by her husband or father, before she eats them. Egyptian English news site Bikya Masr reported the proposal. According to the report, the sheikh has also added carrots and zucchini to the list of apparently immoral and blasphemous fruits and vegetables.

The sheikh was also asked if simply holding these vegetables, while out shopping, would be harmful for women. He replied that it was a matter between God and women.

Unsurprisingly, the sheikh's comment has become a target of online mockery, with a flurry of comments denouncing the Islamic repression of women. Many of the commentators are Muslims themselves, who have expressed their anger against the cleric for making Islamic religious practices appear unreasonable.

Islamic clerics of Saudi Arabia have been in the headlines recently when they spoke out against lifting the driving ban on women. The argument in that case suggested that all women will lose their virginity by indulging in pre-marital sex due to the mixing of genders (which, it is feared, will occur if women were allowed to drive).

The scholarly report by the clerics of Majlis al-Ifta al-Aala, the country's highest Islamic council, warned there would be no more virgins in the country within 10 years of lifting the ban because driving will lead to a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.

The declaration urging the driving ban on women was closely followed by another ludicrous proposal - one requiring women to cover their eyes.

According to existing Sharia laws, Saudi women are required to cover themselves from head to toe, with a long black cloak called the abaya, except for their eyes.

However, Saudi Arabia's Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice found that even women's eyes could sometimes be too attractive for men and drafted a new proposal, which states that women with tempting eyes need to cover them.