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Thank you for bearing with me through my internet silence. I would like to wish you & your families a Happy Fitr, hope you have been enjoying the holidays as much as I have! Certainly, once I return back to the office there will be a huge post dedicated to Corporate Fitr Greeting Cards.

But today I would like to take a look at a few un-traditional “Halal” Products & Resources which have popped into my scope this month.  What is the idea behind those? Are they serving their purpose?  And most importantly, how genuine are their brands?

First stop, Halal YouTube alternatives.

While IslamicTube isn’t something new, there’s a new kid on the block – Naqa Tube. Unlike Islamic Tube which only offers Islamic content, Naqa Tube is trying to offer a full alternative to YouTube. Visitors can upload their own Videos, which they can edit themselves through the site, and publish it after it gets sensored by Naqa. Some of the YouTube content is  also edited by Naqa and hosted on their site. Curious of what these standards may be ? Asides from the obvious, no nudity, comes an array of prohibitions: no images of women (even properly covered), no music whatsoever, content harming the Saudi state, any of its scholars or citizens is prohibited ( talk about freedom of speech).   The founders claim that during the first two months of its launch the site has received around 6000 visitors, a nothing by YouTube standards.  And then let us sigh and wonder how come Naqa’s team haven’t a doubt that Naqa is the viable alternative for the conscious muslim?

& What about Halal Search Engines?

The developers are ecstatic at having over 500,000 visitors in the first two months since I’m Halal’s launch and are hoping it will be he default search engine in every Muslim home. So how does it work? We’ve been having a party at twitter trying to beat this engine and researching what it considers as Halal & Haram. Basically, it works on the principle of  ‘ignore it & it will go away’ , where words such as sex are classified as completely Haram  (3 out of three) and no results whatsoever are displayed, no explanations offered. So you can not even fetch religious and educational texts on forbidden subjects, or rather keywords. So the search formula implemented by the developers is completely out of focus. Of course it must be easier programming wise to just block keywords rather  filtering out immoral  and offering alterative beneficial content as this will involve ranking & indexing.

Take it for a spin: Pork is completely Haram, Bacon isn’t. Haifa is all halal, Pamela Anderson is 1/3 Haram.A ll sexual innuendo including the words gay & ass are 3/3 haram though these words are initially neutral.

Another failure in I’m Halal team’s search capabilities is awareness (or honesty). They position I’m Halal as the first Halal search engine, but with just a basic Google search I’ve found a bunch of alternatives : http://www.musulman.co.uk/, http://www.theislamicsearch.com/, http://www.islamicsearchengine.com/, which are far more viable.

& Halal Cosmetics?

In products leveraging on religious values, the most important element of the brand’s  success & continuity lies in having an untainted reputation, with the public identifying and believing in the brand’s integrity, moral values and honesty. In our Social Media world any veering from the straight path becomes all too apparent… And that is why I am wondering why the following story hasn’t hit spotlight and angered the public, because personally, I felt really duped when I found out this,  by just doing simple google search. But let us hit it from the top….

Layla Mandi has recently been all over the media promoting her new line of Halal cosmetics OnePure now sold in Dubai, which she conceived after converting to Islam and finding out ”that even touching haram animals was forbidden and it was natural for me to understand that to use haram products on my body would prohibit me from praying. I would absorb forbidden ingredients into my skin which I could not wash off”(from the company’s about page).  Layla’s pitch of sincere devoutness came packaged in photos of her proudly sporting a traditional 3abaya and a veil, both on the OnePure website and across the media… making us perceive her as someone who embraced Islam in all of its details and lived by it.

layla

Well we all live under the sun, and apparently it is at least in part a Marketing ploy. Because, only a few weeks before all the PR action Ms. Mandi is bravely sporting her blond hair and beautiful décolté line at Canada Day Party (also in Dubai). Not that I am a puritan, but it is pure hypocrisy to pretend to live a certain lifestyle to make more sales! And wouldn’t her product still sell without this dress-up?

Layla Mandi @ Okku Canada Day Party Source: http://www.ahlanlive.com/13221-canada-day-party--okku

Layla Mandi @ Okku Canada Day Party. Source: http://www.ahlanlive.com/13221-canada-day-party--okku

How do you feel about this? Do you know any other controversial Halal Products?

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