Istanbul: Described as a “Halal Facebook,” the new social networking
phenomenon, Salamworld, set to hit the Muslim world during the
fasting month of Ramadan, will create an Internet platform for
Muslims of all ages. The headquarters of the company are located
There are currently 800 million Facebook users around the world,
300 million of whom are Muslim. This number is expected to
increase by 100 percent in 10 years’ time.
Speaking to Sunday’s Zaman in an inclusive interview, the chairman
of Salamworld, Abdulvahit Niyazov, said that the platform has been
developed with the aim of providing a more “halal” (Islamically
permissible) website for Muslims to interact with each other
Niyazov said Istanbul is seen as an ideal location due to its
unique position between the Eastern and Western worlds and that
Turkey is economically stable, thus attracting many businessmen
from all around the world. He added that Turkey is seen as a
leading Muslim country among Islamic countries.
Niyazov says this
project is solely a business project that intends to serve needs
of Muslims in the modern world and it is not supported by any
political movements or countries. He added that he has always
shown great respect to the works of Turkish scholars around the
world, including well-respected figures Fethullah Gülen and former
Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.
Salamworld states that its users will be provided many
applications, including a vast collection of books on Islamic
heritage in a number of eBook formats, certified distance learning
programs tailored to various levels of education, interactive
session with recognized scholars and qualified experts and
consultants. A multilingual online Islamic encyclopedia will be
available in interlinked pages created by multiple users.
Another important application will be the online city guide, where
users will be provided with worldwide city guides to mosques,
Islamic centers, Halal restaurants and other Muslim businesses.
Users will also be given opportunities to broadcast sermons,
lectures and newsworthy events. Salamworld will provide daily
updates of breaking news and a space for online discussions.
The company chairman stated that there will be an online store of
Islamic goods and services and, additionally, tours will be
advertised and organized for annual pilgrimages to the holy city
of Mecca. Mentioning that 54 percent of the Muslim world is under
the age of 25, Salamworld targets Muslim children and youth to be
educated on Islam with interactive online games.
Salamworld states that this project is not only going to be
created to serve as an ordinary social networking platform. It
describes its mission as being multi-faceted; an alternative to
popular social networks, offering Islamic content generated by
Muslims for Muslims, a place for Muslims to raise their voices, a
platform for communication between Muslim communities, a channel
between Muslims and the international community, offering a field
of opportunities for Muslim youth and a range of Internet services
for modern Muslim society.
Salamworld chairman Niyazov stated that he was inspired to start
this social networking project in April 2011 and he says the main
reason for starting the projects was to provide a chance for
Muslims to have their own space on the Internet and in social
networks, taking into account that one-fifth of the Earth is
Niyazov told Sunday’s Zaman that they are in the process of
actively developing the company. The product and the project is
planned to be launched during the fasting month of Ramadan.
“Besides Istanbul, we have offices in Moscow, Russia and Egypt.
Between March and April 2012 we plan to open a technical office in
India’s Hyderabad and Indonesia’s Jakarta in June or July and
another technical office in New York in October or November.
plan for this year is also to open an office somewhere in the
Persian Gulf (either in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha) and also in
Iran. Our plans for the next year also include openings in Almaty
or Astana to supervise the Central Asian region, Mekkah and Medina
as the Holy cities, Paris and London for Europe and Beijing and
Kuala Lumpur for Southeast Asia. Our professional team now
consists of experts from 12 countries. The executive board has
representatives from 17 countries,” the Salamworld chairman said.
Salamworld says they aim to provide an alternative social network
that is safe for young users, without the harmful content that is
usually associated with social networks. Several leading Muslim
countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan ban
thousands of websites to protect their Internet users from harmful
“I strongly believe that without a reliable alternative
to choose from, and with a lack of Islamic content, young Muslim
Internet users are unprotected against the harmful contents of
websites and social networks that are devoted to today’s popular
culture,” Niyazov added.
Many have previously tried to set up Islamic social networking
projects but they failed and later closed.
“Speaking frankly, all of them failed. When a website has 20,000
users from the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, this is also a
failure. Having no competitors in this market of course increases
the risk of failing; from the other side, it also increases the
potential area of dissemination. As people have no alternatives,
this gives us an opportunity to grow faster,” said Niyazov.
The company chairman said that well-known scholars and
intellectuals in the Muslim world support the project. Some of
them joined the company’s executive board and others have become
Salamworld’s “true friends.”
According to the Salamworld development plan, the company plans to
spend not less than $50 million in the next three years. Niyazov
said he is absolutely confident that these figures are correct,
and will give good results.
He added that Salamworld’s major goal
for the next few years is to become a global company with a $1
“I can say with certainty that we’re moving much
more efficiently that we even planned to,” he added.
within next four to six years, Salamworld plans to launch as a
public company, with its head office in Hong Kong. However, it’s
very difficult to make any kind of forecasts for the next six
years, especially regarding the economy and finances.