Thursday, October 30, 2014


Transmission

Safe Surfing: New Search Engine Launched For Muslims

A screen shot of the Halalgoogling search engine, which allows Muslims to search for content that is filtered in accordance with Islamic sensibilities.
A screen shot of the Halalgoogling search engine, which allows Muslims to search for content that is filtered in accordance with Islamic sensibilities.
Halalgoogling, a new alternative search engine designed to filter "haram" content (content forbidden under Islam) has been launched just in time for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

A website set up to promote Halalagoogling says the engine filters for search results containing "pornography, nudity, gay, lesbian, bisexual, gambling, anti-Islamic content, or anything else that is Haram according to the Islamic law." 

A search for any of these phrases produces a refined list of links to dictionary definitions.

The search engine, which is available in 11 languages, does not contain an image-search option.

Citing a press release issued on July 7 (the day the browser was launched), the Pakistani daily "The Express Tribune" reported that Halalgoogling collects information from other major search engines such as Google and Bing.

A representative from Halalgoogling told RFE/RL that their team consisted of Internet experts from all over the world who have worked on the project for more than two years. 

While acknowledging the difficulty of being thorough in filtering web content, the site administrators have asked for help in weeding out un-Islamic material by asking users to report any content that is contrary to the principles of Islam. They also apologize in advance for any "unintentional mistake that we might have made or could make in the future."

Besides standard search options, Halalgoogling includes educational content and forums on Islam as well as a "Random Search" button in case you don't know what you would like to look for online. Simply clicking on the icon gives users a series of links on content ranging from grammar tips about the difference between "affect" and "effect" to ways of preventing hair loss or lists of famous Muslims.
                                                                                                                               Halalgoogling is not the first search engine that filters for explicit content. Google already has a SafeSearch filter, which eliminates sexually explicit videos, images, and links from Google Search results.

There is also the Google-powered Islamic Search engine, which gives more weight to Muslim websites and eliminates pornographic content.

A quick search of the phrase "eating pork" yields similar results from Halalgoogling and Islamic Search, but significantly different results from Google.

While both Halalgoogling and Islamic Search focus on Islamic restrictions on consuming pork, the standard Google search engine offers a variety of results that go beyond the confines of Islam.

Searching for sexually explicit content on Halalgoogling either provides links to dictionary definitions or the following message: "No results found or you have searched Haram (forbidden) content."

-- Deana Kjuka
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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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