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Indian Muslim clerics have condemned the use of verses from the Koran as mobile ringtones, Yahoo! reports.

Mohammed Asumin Qazmi, an official at the Dar-ul Uloom seminary in the northern Indian town of Deoband, said the verses were "not meant for entertainment", and declared that "anyone who persists in using these should be ostracized from society".

The practice is said to be common among among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, especially those in their mid 40s and 50s. Bank manager Faiz Siddaqui defended his Koranic ditty thus: "Whenever my phone rings, I hear these verses that stress the values of hard work and honesty, and I feel closer to my religion."

Mufti Badru-Hasan, a leading cleric in Uttar Pradesh capital of Lucknow, was having none of it: "One should hear the complete verse of the Koran with a pious mind and in silence. If it is used as a ringtone, a person is bound to switch on the mobile, thus truncating the verse halfway. This is an un-Islamic act." ®

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