Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Muslim hero site is top Islamic app

Site for photos of everyday role models wins Haqqathon contest, part of forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.

ABU DHABI // A social media site on to which people can upload photos of Muslim heroes in everyday life, called Champions of Islam, has won the Haqqathon Islamic app contest.

The winner of the contest, which ran as part of the second annual Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies forum, was announced on Wednesday night.

The organisers also announced a surprise winner that received the highest number of votes from live and online audiences – the Islamic sex-education website and app called Marhubba.

The Champions of Islam project aims to provide role models for Muslim youth to counter terrorist organisations’ use of creative videos to portray their members as powerful heroes, said Chris Abdurrahman Blauvelt, founder of Launch Good, whose team created the app.

“This is an advantage that ISIL has over our scholars,” said Mr Blauvelt.

Many youths who are good and idealistic people lack proper direction and are influenced by these organisations, choosing to join them.

“I was almost one of those men,” Mr Blauvelt said.

An example of a strong Muslim role model the platform would feature is professional American footballer Husain Abdullah, the first to perform sujood live on national TV after scoring a goal.

But Sheikh Hamza Yousef, one of the three judges and president of Zaytuna College in the US, had a question for the team about female champions.

“Everything I saw indicated it is directed towards males. Have you thought about women role models?” he asked.

He said females were as much targets for ISIL recruitment in Syria as males.

Mr Blauvelt said there could be a version for females, but the focus would initially be boys because the number of young men fall-ing prey to extremist groups were “far more significant and greater”.

Among the apps pitched were video games, social media platforms and apps for users to submit questions to scholars.

But the judges, whose decision constituted 75 per cent of the score, had concerns over some of the apps being abused.

One team presented an online game called Quest 99, in which users would upload videos or photos on a subject released weekly by game organisers.

“People could start uploading stupid things. I see potential for abuse,” said Sheikh Hamza.

“Nothing will go live without an eyeball seeing it,” answered Shaukat Warraich, a member of the presenting team and chief executive of Faith Associates, a UK organisation.

Another team presented a mock-up of a video game in which boys and girls can journey in a choice of seven themes: fantasy, space, oceans, caverns, nature and cities.

As the player crosses barriers and avoids risks of death, messages from the Quran or hadith would appear after each stage.

Selection of winners was done through the judges, votes from audience members, and an audience watching live online.

The winning projects will make their ideas a reality through support and funding of the forum organisers.


Updated: April 29, 2015 04:00 AM