Originally posted at MuslimMatters.org
With the Brass Crescent Awards coming to a close, and the launch of the new Muslims Bloggers Directory, I feel it’s a good time to take a closer look at the world of Muslim blogging.
I’ve had the honour of working on several online initiatives alongside MuslimMatters these past couple of years. In particular, the website Ijtema.net, which, since its launch back in 2007, has aimed to promote the ‘best of the Muslim blogosphere’.
Our initial approach to achieve this goal was to act as a type of human filter of the Islaminet: our team of editors would link to Muslim-authored content that we found interesting, in the hope that our readers would too. I guess that they did, as we were nominated for a BCA last year under the category “Best Group Blog” – though we were beaten by some unknown entity called “MuslimMatters.org”. Anyone ever heard of them?
However, as the number of Muslim blogs we followed became greater and greater, and the spare time of our editors became less and less, we knew we could not sustain our efforts for much longer. We decided to close the site, albeit temporarily, and focus on a new, hopefully more efficient strategy.
That eventually led to the launch of the Muslim Bloggers Directory – a freely accessible, categorised collection of links to Muslim blogs, vlogs, and other multimedia channels, with a custom search engine allowing visitors to search through the actual content of listed sites.
Sondos Kholoki-Kahf explores the issues facing young Muslim men and women when they’re looking to tie the knot.
“Tarek*,23, has been searching for a wife since his first year in college. With his parents’ full support and a steady job under his belt, Tarek began meeting girls through relatives, friends, and online. None proved a match.
A few years ago, Tarek was perusing material in a masjid bookstore and saw a girl there he thought could be a potential candidate.
“She seemed to be waiting around the place almost as if she wanted me to say something, but I just didn’t know how to approach her,” Tarek recalls. “Was she interested, or was it just my imagination? I didn’t want to make it seem like I was hitting on her because it would probably turn her off. It was mind-boggling and disappointing because I didn’t know what to do.”
Truly, Muslim men and women — especially those in the West — are missing opportunities to get to know one another in informal, yet religiously acceptable forums. With unplanned socializing out of the question, youth are scrambling for an alternative that will allow for careful interaction between genders. Often times, men and women are completely separated to the point where they find it awkward to interact on a basic social level.
The Muslim Writers Awards are now accepting submissions for the 2009 awards. Categories and contact details can be found on their website. You can also browse through this year’s winner entries here, by clicking on the “Awards” tab.