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Halal surfing: Web browser targets 1.8 bn Muslims

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Halal surfing: Web browser targets 1.8 bn MuslimsA Malaysian tech firm claims to have developed the world’s first mobile and desktop browser that is compliant with Islamic values to target the worlds 1.8 billion Muslims by offering them a safe and ethically-sensitive online experience.

Among other features, SalamWeb has a clock showing prayer timings as per your geographical location, a compass indicating the direction that a Muslim must face while praying and signals warnings when you try to open a website that may be forbidden according to Islam’s teachings, Efe news reported.

The multilingual browser with a simple interface to which its user can add other linked applications, all in accordance with Sharia, made its debut earlier this year.

“Generation M, the younger Muslims who have a strong belief in their faith and are technology savvy, is looking at more practical solutions to support their needs,” Hajjah Hasni Zarina, the Director General of SalamWeb Technologies, told the news agency.

With over 1.8 million Muslims in the world or 24 per cent of the global population, the company, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, sees a “huge opportunity” to exploit the niche market and “the potential in making technology the enabler to enhance the lives” Muslims around the globe.

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“Our guidelines have been developed with the care and guidance of Muslim adab (discipline) based on the principles of the Shariah (Sharia),” Zarina said.

She claimed that the certificate for the browser was endorsed by the Shariah Supervisory Board of Amanie Advisors, comprising of scholars from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Malaysia.

In order to respect and uphold fundamentals of Islam, the browser filters search options and allows users to classify websites as appropriate, neutral and inappropriate.

“Salam Web was founded with a vision to provide a safer, private and ethically-sensitive online experience (…) This means that harmful content is filtered out and visits to pornographic or inappropriate websites are forewarned with a harmful content ahead alert,” Zarina said.

Before accessing an “inappropriate” website, a red warning message appears on the screen and leaves the user with an option of continuing to the non-recommended website or return to the start.

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One of the promises of the browser, according to its creators, is to “combat” fake news through trusted media, and personalized information about the happenings around the world.

The browser also has an application called “SalamSadaqah” for offering zakat, a form of alms-giving to share your wealth with the poor. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam.

For every search carried out through SalamWeb, the company claims that it will make a donation to charitable causes.

The browser, developed since 2016 on the Chromium open source software and to which a messaging programme can also be added, is available in multiple languages including English, Bahasa (Malaysian and Indonesian), Urdu, Bangladeshi and Arabic.

And although it is based on Islamic principles, “any person regardless of age or creed” can use it, according to the company.

IANS
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