Summer 2012 will see the launch of “Salamworld”, a social networking site following Islamic principles to cater specifically to followers of Islam, Tages-Anzeiger reports. The unveiling is set for July, to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The site will be available in eight languages: English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, and Russian, with others to be added later. Its creators want to tap into the large number of Muslim internet users, and hope to have 50 million users in five years, according to The Washington Post.
The major difference between Salamworld and other social networks will be the filtering of “offensive” content like pornography, and anything inciting terrorist activity or human rights violations.
“The content that is being used on other social networks is not very secure and full of haram [forbidden material],” one of Salamworld’s owners, Abdulvahed Niyazo, told the Hürriyet Daily News. “We don’t want our young people to absorb all these ideas that are not familiar to them… Some [music videos] of Madonna, for instance, are considered haram.”
Chat rooms will be moderated, and online communities will be called upon to remove or report offensive content, which has led skeptics to believe Muslim youth will equate this “filtering” with censorship. “We aren’t a mosque,” says Jawus Selim Kurt, the PR director of Salamworld. “We don’t censor, and there will of course be the same kind of freedom users enjoy on other social networking sites… [but] Every freedom in the world has its boundaries.”