Netherlands: Calls to ban Muslim search engine from schools

Netherlands: Calls to ban Muslim search engine from schools

Interestingly, 'suicide' gives a content warning, but 'murder' doesn't. 'Terrorism' is haram, but not 'beheading'. 'Mohammad cartoons' and 'Wilders' are haram, but 'Pictures of Mohammad' and 'Islamophobia' are ok.

The problem with censoring by search terms and not by content or keyword is that you lump together sites, no matter whether they're pro or against whatever term you want.

As for Bouchibti's concerns. I don't know why she would want kids in school to look up sex on school computers. She should be concerned about the fact that this site censors Dutch politicians.


Imhalal is a brand new internet search engine which protects surfers against search results which are not acceptable according to Islam. The site was developed by Reza Sardeha (20) of the AZS Media Group in the Netherlands. She says that they want to prevent people from accidentally getting to inappropriate sites.

The sites gives a warning for inappropriate search terms, from 1 to 3 on the 'haram' scale. "Prostitute" gives a level 3 warning and does not give any results, while 'pig' gives a level 1 warning and allows you to see the results if you so choose. 'Wilders' also gives a level 1 warning.

The site attracted more than 300,000 people in its first eight days. Sardeha says they want to be the most important search engine in the Middle East.

Sedeha rejects criticism of censorship. "People should be able to surf freely. We don't want people to encounter bad content by accident, but they can always ignore the warning. And naturally you don't have to use ImHalal."

PvdA (Dutch Labour Party) parliament member Samira Bouchibti says that the new engine should not be used in schools, since it encourages discrimination of gays by filtering out search terms such as 'homo' and 'gay'. She says young Muslims should also have access to information about sexuality and homosexuality.

The parliament member turned to Minister of Education Ronald Plasterk (PvdA) to check whether can be kept out of schools and other institutions which are funded by the government. She also wants to know if subsidized organizations were involved in the development of the website.

The developers of the site think that there's a great need for such a search engine among Muslims. They wants to offer Muslims the opportunity to use the internet 'in a safe and clean environment'.

Sources: De Pers, De Telegraaf (Dutch)

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