Islamic Lifestyle 

Dubai company to put up $15 mln to develop ‘Shariah-compliant’ web browser, other digital products

| 01 February, 2019
Dubai company to put up $15 mln to develop ‘Shariah-compliant’ web browser, other digital products
Photo: Hasni Zarina Mohamed Khan, Managing Director of Salam Web Technologies MY Sdn. Bhd. Photo supplied by Salam Web Technologies MY Sdn Bhd. 

KUALA LUMPUR - Salam Web Technology Dubai will invest around $15 million to develop features and introduce new products in the next three to five years, to add to the ‘Shariah-compliant’ web browser it launched in Malaysia on Jan 17.

Managing Director of Salam Web Technologies MY Sdn Bhd, Hasni Zarina Mohamed Khan, told Salaam Gateway in a written response to questions, that the browser will currently focus on Muslim markets – Malaysia and Indonesia.

“However, SalamWeb products are available to anyone, anywhere and it has been well-received globally,” she said.

The company uses what it calls ‘SalamTags’ to flag content. Users can control and customise websites as appropriate, neutral or inappropriate, said Hasni Zarina.

“Through this feature, we deliver curated content that match your SalamTags,” she said.

“SalamTag feature has the ability to filter out adult, fraudulent and violent content in Search and the Salam products like SalamNews and SalamChat,” she added.

SalamWeb is ‘endorsed’ as Shariah-compliant by Malaysia-headquartered Amanie Advisors and its products are “in relevance to” the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC) guidelines on the Islamic Digital Economy, according to Hasni Zarina.

MDEC released its Islamic Digital Economy Mi’yar last year.  The mi’yar refers to MDEC’s set of four guides that provide reference for digital economy communities that want to participate in the Islamic Digital Economy.

The guides include one for Islamic Venture Capital and another on digital products and services from the halal perspective, or Shariah-compliant.

In the 11-page guide ‘Mi’yar for Technology Product and Services from Halal Perspective’, seventeen criteria are identified as guidelines for multimedia digital content or broadcasting material to be Shariah-compliant.

They include not violating the sanctity of Islam, the impermissibility of a Muslim to play the role of a non-Muslim (with examples given for actors), the impermissibility to act out specific acts of worship wrongly or to ridicule them, to not ridicule or question the authenticity of the main sources of Islamic law, and to not contradict the fatwas or views of the majority of scholars.

Hasni Zarina said that community standards are made clear.

“We have made our community standards as clear and established in a sense where users can seek to encourage expression while minimising abuse and harm content,” she said.

“The whole objective is to have an ethical browsing experience. We use guidelines which have been developed with the care and guidance of Muslim Adab as advised by our Shariah advisors.”

The SalamWeb products will also keep up with the changing environment.

“Additionally, these guidelines are continuously reviewed to keep up with the evolving external content – as language, slang, cultural norms and society as a whole shifts, we need to adapt to make sure we’re keeping up with the ways people are expressing themselves,” Hasni Zarina said.

"As our Shariah consultants, Amanie will be reviewing our processes to ensure that we remain in compliance," added Hasni Zarina.

SalamWeb also incorporates what it calls SalamSadaqah that matches each web search or content report with a donation.

“Most of us browse the internet on a daily basis without giving a second thought to how we can use this incredible tool for a larger, more charitable experience,” said the managing director.

SalamSadaqah fits into SalamWeb’s “guiding principles” to “help empower a global community”, according to Hasni Zarina.

To the question how SalamSadaqah is being funded, Hasni Zarina said, “The objective of SalamSadaqah is not to turn profits but to create a good deed from the everyday internet browsing experience.”

(Reporting by Ahmad Mustakim; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim emmy.alim@refinitiv.com)

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