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Tech start-up touts 'halal Facebook'

Company aims to provide "Islam-centred" version of social networking site

SalamWorld will provide an Islam-friendly alternative to Facebook.
SalamWorld will provide an Islam-friendly alternative to Facebook.

An Islamic alternative to Facebook is to be launched this July, with the hope of attracting 50m users within its first three years, Arab News reported.

SalamWorld, which has been dubbed 'halal Facebook', aims to provide a "cleaner, Islam-centred" version of the famous social networking site by filtering out harmful content and ensuring pages uphold and respect family values, the daily newspaper said.

The company behind the site told Arab News it wants to provide a platform for the estimated 300m Muslim internet users around the globe, and planned to spend $50m on the site in the coming years with a target $1bn turnover.

Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov, chairman of the SalamWorld board of directors, said the key difference between SalamWorld and other social networks would be the filtering of "offensive" content and material designed to incite terrorist activity or human rights violations.

The site also aimed to provide a better picture of Islam to non-Muslims, executives said.

Other features of the site are set to include an online city guide, providing information on mosques, Islamic centres, halal restaurants and Muslim businesses, and applications allowing users to broadcast Islamic sermons and lectures.

In addition, SalamWorld will provide breaking news, space for online discussions, and an online store of Islamic goods and services, as well as adverts for tours for annual pilgrimages to Makkah.

According to reports, the site will be launched from Turkish capital Istanbul, but will eventually have a base in the Gulf region.

The website will be available in eight languages, including English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Russian, and the launch date will coincide with the holy month of Ramadan.