'Haqqathon' takes the virtual fight to ISIS extremists

A group of Muslim scholars held a "haqqathon" last week in the United Arab Emirates with the aim of enabling new ways for respected Islamic scholars from various branches of the religion to engage with young Muslims and help prevent them from being groomed by violent extremists like the self-proclaimed Islamic State. 

In Arabic, 'haqq' is the word for truth which makes the perfect title for the event and what it aims to spread. It took place in Abu Dhabi on the sidelines of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies and featured more than 400 Muslim clerical scholars from Sunni, Shiite, and other branches who gathered to discuss how to tackle the issue of extremists hijacking Islam.

Recruitment for extremist groups in the past was difficult due to a lack of communication, now people are able to be reached and radicalised through new technology such as Social Media where barbaric images and videos are often spread by groups who wish to instil fear. As such, new ways to combat radicalisation must be adopted. 

The young Muslim entrepreneurs had a celebratory dinner on the rooftop, overlooking the lights of Abu Dhabi

Five teams took up the challenge and competed over two and a half days for the chance to win funding which will allow them to get their project up and running. One app and website which was created is called 'Marhubba' and helps to clarify questions about male-female relationships in the religion. 

A social media site called 'Champions of Islam' won the hacakathon which is a place for sharing photos of everyday Muslim heroes to ensure that role models are positive and youth are not succumbed by the Hollywood-style videos and images we're seeing released from groups such as ISIS. 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. 

Although the social media site won the hackathon overall, Marhubba was given a surprise "People's Choice" award which allows them to also fund their idea. The young Muslim entrepreneurs had a celebratory dinner on the rooftop, overlooking the lights of Abu Dhabi, still pitching ideas to one another and making more connections. 

Do you think the Haqqathon is a good idea help to tackle radicalisation? Let us know in the comments.


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