ISTANBUL - A group of Muslim businessmen have unveiled plans in Turkey for a Facebook-style social networking site that respects Islamic values and offers a healthy atmosphere for young, Islamic audience.
SalamWorld.com, which will make its internet debut next year, "will seek to unify the youth in a common vision and the healthy values of Islam while attempting to not diffuse any unhealthy information," Akhmed Azimov, the initiative's vice-president, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Thursday, December 1.
The project, SalamWorld.com, was introduced by businessmen from Turkey, Egypt, Germany and other countries.
Based in Istanbul, the new site will have offices in Moscow and Cairo and coordinators in 30 countries.
Azimov declined to discuss funding details but said "there's no problem with that," adding the investors were a group of businessmen from the Muslim world.
With more than 800 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become a major component of social interaction, especially among the young.
The new Muslim site hopes to attract 50 million users within three years, Azimov told about 150 journalists from Muslim countries at the company's luxurious Istanbul offices.
SalamWorld will enable Muslim leaders to highlight the benefits of Islam using cutting edge IT technologies, the project managers said.
"The heart of the project is to create a network without any content that is prohibited by religion," said Azimov, a Dagestan native.
"To achieve this, we will have a big team of moderators and there will be filters.
"We also count on users to moderate themselves and to filter the contents."
Along with user-generated content, the site will offer services such as theological consultations and city guides that list mosque locations and halal food stores.
"We're going to try to create an online encyclopedia, a sort of Islamic Wikipedia," Azimov said.
The concept of Halal internet and websites was first introduced by Iran in a new Halal search engine titled ImHalal.
Launched on September 2009, it was founded by Reza Sardeha; a 20-year-old Iranian-Kuwaiti student living in the Netherlands.
The Islamic search engine filters internet content and presents users with what its creators call clean web pages that do not contain bawdy material.
It gives Muslims around the world the chance to search the internet safely without coming across offending or pornographic content.
Once a user comes into contact with offending content, the engine returns a negative search advice.
The world's first Islamic search engine is available in 15 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi and Turkish, as well as English.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net