A while ago I tweeted asking if users liked our new redesign and if they had any comments or feedback, and Kerim Nu’man from taqwa.me replied giving a few suggestions (which we are currently working on), however after that we got in touch with him and wanted to know how taqwa.me is doing and what his plans are for the future.
For those of you who are not familiar with Taqwa.me it is a search engine that lets the public decide for themselves what is Halal and Haram, and air their opinions and discuss them openly with fellow users. When Kerim was asked what drove him to come up with taqwa, he stated that he was frustrated with why some websites which he thought were innocent and inoffensive were blocked when he accessed them from within the UAE. So he and a colleague decided to develop a search engine where users can judge for themselves and have a discussion on what should and shouldn’t be blocked.
How taqwa.me works is by providing similar results as compared to other leading search engines, but each result is listed with three buttons where users can rate the content as Halal (a heart button) or Haram (a mini skull button), or discuss the issue with others (a blue man button).
Taqwa.me was launched on August 2010, and it started off with a very impressive 50,000 daily visits, that number has gone down a bit almost you will read below from Kerim’s answers.
1. Where are you or taqwa.me based?
HQ is being set up in Melbourne Australia smaller bases Seattle, India, Malaysia and still setting up in Dubai – Old town island.
2. In the articles online it mentions that taqwa.me helps people decide whether a site is harmful or not, but for example if I check www.arabtimes.com it is blocked here in the UAE. So how will taqwa.me help in unblocking it?
Based on the research most sites are found through search engines, ie entering a keyword and finding the best match.
If people / governments /schools actually start recognizing taqwa as a search engine and social platform and actually start using it then these type of things (blocked sites in the uae) can easily be talked about through that comments system (blue
guy) and rating it as ‘Halal’.
Taqwa.me needs to make a bigger push to make this happen.
We can easily submit our results to the relevant identities in the UAE who can then unblock this type of data , more so the idea would be to get taqwa as a standard platform so that media and or content is not dictated or filtered by a random automated code picking up keywords.
3. Are you still getting 50K visits? Or did that number go up/down?
That went down considerably, we are at 20k actual users per month since January 2011. Our hits vary but nothing to bloat about yet im not impressed by it, people are still very unaware that we even exist so any support we receive is more than welcomed.
4. I noticed that some articles you provided were in Italian how come you have italian coverage?
the Italians have a very multi-cultured muslim art seen which we are trying very hard to promote through the homepage (the aim is for a new art piece everyday) and taqwa.me was recognized for this aspect. I really loved the Italian coverage as it really covered what taqwa was about with its arts, expression, comments and modern muslim type of thing.
You can also view taqwa’s new cool homepage designs here.