There’s a new trend in social media: Sharia safe Facebook alternatives. As Forbes notes:
A month ago, while attending the Startup Turkey conference in Antalya, I had the chance to talk to Shoaib Fadie, CEO and co-founder of the social networking platform Muslimface.
He was there to pitch to potential investors his website, which, in addition to social networking also offers prayer times, job postings, a tool to locate the nearest mosque, a ‘find your spouse’ feature, and much more.
It might not seem the best of times, now, to write about Islamic online content, given the prejudices that surround the topic and the rising Islamophobia (which the recent terrorist attacks has certainly not helped reduce). Just think of Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.
But Fadie’s project struck me as potentially making sense both from the entrepreneurial and social point of view. After all, the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to a Pew Research Center study.
On the one hand, the digital media environment has created all sorts of avenues and opportunities for people to interact with those that share their common interests. On the other, it’s troubling that Muslims are increasingly seeking out avenues to isolate themselves from the broader American culture. It’s no secret that a lot of what we see on social media is both intellectually and morally the bottom of the proverbial barrel, but so is much of what’s in American culture. Part of assimilating into a society is being able to engage with and tolerate the extremes of that society. If Muslims can’t do that, it doesn’t bode well for America.