A new post by guest blogger, Steven Nelson, a teacher, trainer, translator, interpreter, and writer. Steven is a graduate of Mary Washington College (BA in International Studies) and Central European University (MA in Nationalism Studies) and lives with his family in Budapest, Hungary. He has an keen interest in how the Internet is affecting our world and we hope he will be a regular contributor to our site .
The Internet, being a vast and unregulated virtual space, can appear to be hazardous territory for those who choose to live their lives according to strict guidelines, such as devout Muslims. Instead of shunning the online world however, a new start-up intended for Muslims is launching a social networking site that conforms with accepted tenets of Islam.
Salamworld, which will go public in July, plans to offer many of the benefits of the popular social networking sites but with a focus on family values and excluding content that Muslims find harmful. Such content might include discussions of alcohol consumption and pictures of revealing female clothing.
The new venture is not without its risks, however. This article notes that an earlier Muslim social network, Muxlim.com, was unable to meet its debts and shut down recently, and a 'Muslim search engine' also closed operations late last year.
So will Salamworld succeed where the other Muslim-based start-ups could not? The main question might be, can young Muslims, who make up the bulk of these types of sites, be enticed to sign up to a new social network that is designed just for them? With Facebook now reaching 800 million members, it may be quite a challenge for any new site to build a large audience with such a dominant player on the market.
Young Muslims already on Facebook may prefer to stay on that site and ensure that their interactions there conform with their religious beliefs instead of switching to a brand-new and unproven social network. But if Salamworld succeeds, perhaps it will pave the way for other Islamic-focused online business ventures to come.