Coming Soon: Islamic Facebook

JAKARTA GLOBE, ANTARA NEWS (Indonesia), AAP (Australia)


JAKARTA - A new Islamic social networking site will be launched in Indonesia in November, and will offer “better protection” for young Muslims from “harmful content” reports the Jakarta Globe.

According to the Indonesian newspaper, the Beta version of the site is currently being tested by 1,000 users around the world.

New Islamic Social Network Salamworld Offers Halal Content to be Launched Soon bit.ly/PQn8rK

— The Jakarta Globe (@thejakartaglobe) August 13, 2012

Salamworld, as it is called, will have an option that allows users to ensure the content they view is Halal -- material allowed under Islamic law -- and filter out indecent subject matter such as pornography or illegal drugs, writes the AAP. It will be available in eight languages, including English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Russian.

On Islamic Facebook, no pictures of food items will be displayed during Ramadan. #SalamWorld

— Free Indian (@praddee) August 14, 2012

"Salam World is a social networking platform, which will be based on Islamic values and explore the true potential of the global Muslim community. The website can eliminate communication barriers for Muslims around the world," Erol Toksoy, Salam World's Brand Manager, told Antara News.

He added non-Muslims could also join Salamworld.com: "They may have an account, as long as they can appreciate the values of Islam here."

In the coming three years, says Antara News, Salam World plans to target 300 million users worldwide. "The Muslim community has tremendous potential to change the world, for example, the way it did in Tunisia and Egypt. If we can connect them to each other, great things can be achieved. We want to create an Islamic brand that Muslims can be proud of," said Toksoy.

The Islamic social network is expected to be well received in Indonesia, says the AAP. The world's most populous Muslim nation is also the second-largest market in the world for Facebook and the third-largest for Twitter.

Watch a presentation video in English:

As-Salamu Alaykum, Islamic Facebook!

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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