Social media platforms, such Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, have been aggressively censoring many posts by users on the Palestinian issue and coverage of the worldwide protests. WhatsApp has been accused by journalists covering the news on the ground in Palestine, of being blocked from using the platform during their news reporting sessions. Other social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn have also imposed censorship on this topic, albeit to a lesser degree.
Muslim Tech Awareness Needed
If social media censorship including messaging apps such as WhatsApp blocking usage by on-the-ground news reporters, it’s high time Muslims choose Muslim-owned, Muslim-developed technologies over the Western-owned technologies.
It is not for the lack of availability that Muslim-owned, or Muslim-developed technology platforms are available for the Muslim consumers to use these Muslim-focused alternatives, but for the lack of awareness and urgency.
Halalop has covered the Muslim-developed and Muslim-owned technology platforms that are the alternatives to the popular Western platforms.
Its high time that we raise awareness and raise the urgency among our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world that Muslim-tech alternatives are available for us to use.
But why bother use lesser-known Muslim technologies?
- When we continue to rely on the mainstream Western platforms, we’re also financially contributing to them (even when it’s free), which they then use their financial strength to support regimes that oppress Muslims.
- When we no longer rely on Western-owned (or China-owned) technologies and start using Muslim-owned, Muslim-developed technologies, we’re supporting our own economies to grow.
- Why complain that the best tech jobs are in California when there are equally talented people in the Muslim world, just waiting for that opportunity to be given to them?
Social Media Censorship
Social media censorship is not new. Back in 2019, TikTok banned a user for bringing up the plights of Muslim Uighur communities in China who are equally being oppressed with their lands stolen. Why? Because TikTok is owned by a China corporation.
The current narrative of Palestinians being the aggressors is now being challenged via social media. Where previously people who were either uninterested or were biased due to biased Western reportings on the ongoing issue, they can now no longer hide behind their false narratives.
Western journalists, such Associated Press’s journalist, Emily Wilder, are being fired from their jobs for their truthful reporting.
To create awareness, yes, we do need to reach out to the masses who are unaware through their popular platforms. But we Muslims also need our own platforms to reach out to the masses with our narratives.
Why Bother with the Muslim Alternatives?
When 9-11 happened, the entire Western and non-Muslim world embraced the narrative that Muslims are terrorists. From CNN to the BBC, the narrative is just that: practising Islam meant that you’re a radical and support terrorism.
Five years later, Aljazeera English, an international English news channel by the Qatari government, was founded to challenge the biased Western media reporting. TRT World, which is owned by the Turkish government, now joins the list of bringing balanced reporting to the English-speaking world.
It’s high time that we embrace and fully utilize our Muslim alternatives in technology, whether in social media, messaging, browsers and so on.
List of Muslim Tech Alternatives
Here are just some of the alternative technology platforms that we are aware of.
- Messaging App – BiP – alternative to WhatsApp
- BiP is owned by Turkcell, a Turkish mobile network operator, is used by over 8 million users globally.
- Web browser and mobile browser – SalamWeb – alternative to Google Chrome, and Safari:
- developed in Malaysia, now owned by Dubai-based Salam Web Technologies.
- Community platform – CollabDeen – alternative to Facebook
- Developed by Singapore-based Muslim, this social platform that provides Muslims globally with the means to engage with the community while keeping minimal user data to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands.
This list is not complete, so do let us know about other Muslim-owned and Muslim-developed tech, and share with your family and friends too.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.