Meme Wars | The Weekly Standard

Marrakech will host one of a global series of anti-extremism “hackathons,” which aim “to devise mobile apps and websites that communicate Islam’s true values in a way that resonates with young people”:

the weekly standard[…] Some Muslim hackers aim to embarrass ISIS supporters by destroying their digital infrastructure or “doxing” (revealing) their identities. But others prefer to change the conversation by creating new memes. Affinis Labs in Northern Virginia sponsored hackathons in Abu Dhabi and Sydney in 2015 and will host four more this month, in Uganda, California, London, and Marrakesh. The goal is to devise mobile apps and websites that communicate Islam’s true values in a way that resonates with young people.

“Countering ISIS’s revolutionary fervor with passionate moderation doesn’t work,” declares Affinis cofounder Shahed Amanullah, who refuses government assistance despite his former job as a Department of State adviser in charge of digital diplomacy to young Muslims around the world. “We’re more effective working with communities without the government in the back seat or even in the car.”

Shahed believes the San Bernardino massacre made ISIS’s evil tangible and roused America’s roughly three million Muslims to the idea that their youth must be empowered, not embattled. Toward that end, Affinis is incubating 11 startups and mobile applications supporting mainstream living in opposition to radicalism. ComeBack2Us is a digital underground railroad being developed for people who want to leave Syria and return home. It contains a message service for families to communicate with a son or daughter pondering a break from ISIS. Ishqr is an online dating site for millennial American Muslims who want to keep the faith yet avoid arranged marriages. LaunchGood is a faith-based online crowdfunding platform in Detroit supporting Muslim entrepreneurs in 20 countries. The company calls itself a “Global Force for Good”; it raised $100,000 for eight black Southern churches destroyed by fire after the nine murders in Charleston, S.C., last year…[FULL STORY]


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