First Islamic Facebook aims to create ‘halal’ field for Muslims

First Islamic Facebook aims to create ‘halal’ field for Muslims

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
First Islamic Facebook aims to create ‘halal’ field for Muslims

One of the owners of Salamworld, Abdulvahed Niyazov, speaks to Hürriyet Daily News reporter during the global summit. ‘Muslims in the world are not well-represented on the Internet,’ Niyazov says.DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

“Salamworld,” a pioneering global Islamic social network that aims to create a “halal” environment for Muslims on the Internet, recently held its first global summit in Istanbul with the participation of 250 people from 40 countries.

“The content that is being used on other social networks is not very secure and full of haram. We don’t want our young people to absorb all these ideas that are not familiar to them,” one of the owners of Salamworld, Abdulvahed Niyazov, a Muslim businessman from Siberia, told the Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview.

A group of Russian and Turkish investors have put tens of millions of dollars into the development of the site, which aims to become an Islamic version of Facebook.

“Muslims in the world are not well-represented on the Internet; we want to change this situation. However, we’re not constructing an Internet mosque, we are just creating a halal environment for Muslims,” Niyazov said. According to Niyazov, the advertisements will also have “halal content” on the Internet network.

Some Madonna videos are haram

Explaining what will be considered haram, Niyazov said, “Some [music videos] of Madonna, for instance, are considered haram.”

When asked about “Islamic dating,” Niyazov said: “This is not a dating site. It is a social network for the new generation where members can feel useful and comfortable.”

Touching on the notion of atheists joining the site, Niyazov said: “I feel sorry that there are still atheists in the world. However, yes, any individual who shares our ideas can be a member.”
Niyazov said they were planning to use three levels of moderation on the social website. “Besides technical and editorial moderation, most importantly there will be self-moderation within the communities. This community idea will be a consistent part of our project.”

The project’s head office is in Istanbul, and branch offices will be in Cairo, Moscow and other cities. Niyazov said they chose Istanbul as Salamworld’s headquarters because “it is a bridge between civilizations, and it is one of the biggest cultural cities of the Islamic world.”

“The other reason why we wanted to have our headquarters in Turkey is because today’s modern Islamic government in Turkey is setting trends in the Islamic world,” Niyazov said.

Salamworld will be launched in summer 2012 in eight languages. The social network aims to register 50 million users within five years.