The homepage (Photo: Muslims Condemn)
Meet The Nigerian Developers Fighting Islamophobia One Code At A Time
Every time an act of terrorism is executed in the 'name of Islam', Muslims everywhere are told to denounce these actions, even though they do, time and time again, and they are in fact the largest victims of terrorism.
When someone says "Muslims should tell ISIS to stop":
The raging islamophobia leads to many Muslims feeling angry and frustrated about not being able to fully embrace their religion without being considered an ISIS or Boko Haram-loving extremist. At the same time, when it comes to cruel actions done by white people (*ahem* slavery, segregation, colonisation, racism, KKK, Trump's win) an apology is not an obvious necessity, but for Muslims, it's a prerequisite for existing in the world.
However, in an attempt to combat the ridiculous stereotype that Muslim = terrorist lover, 19-year-old author and student, Heraa Hashmi, created a spreadsheet of all the thousands of acts Muslims have condemned globally - as a response to a classmate asking her a silly question. While honestly and truly, Muslims really do not need to bring 'digital proof' of all the times they have spoken out against violence and extremism, this idea is another way of showing how unfounded prejudice against Muslims is.
classmate: why dont muslims condemn things— Heraa Hashmi (@caveheraa) 12 November 2016
me: *goes home makes 712 page long list of Muslims Condemning Things with sources*
me: fight me pic.twitter.com/sDhwUMIAK1
This then spurred Nigerian couple, Ire Aderinokun and Timi Ajiboye, who both happen to be tech developers, to create an interactive website where people could search and read up on the numerous times many muslims actually condemn cruel acts falsely done in the name of Islam.
Timi is a full stack/mobile developer at Gigster and a tech blogger at Hellosails and Chunks Of Code, while Ire is a UI designer and Front-End developer in charge of Tech for media/publishing company Big Cabal, as well as a Google Developer Expert and blogger at Bits Of Code.
Chunks of code, bits of code - get it? The couple (or 'dating developers') are not only incredibly brilliant, but also extremely cheesy - but we still love them anyway.
Timi and Ire spoke to Konbini about their motivations for the creating the site:
Konbini: This site stemmed from a viral tweet, what made this standout, unlike the other viral tweets on islamophobia, to make you create a site on all the things Muslims have condemned?
Timi: I saw 5000+ records on that spreadsheet. It was a lot of work. A lot of them had sources/links. She did a lot for her (just) cause but as we know, a spreadsheet might not the most accessible way to display certain kinds of data. And I've always wanted to use to my programming skills to contribute in some way (see tweetatsenate). Ire is always on the same page as me, so I hit her up and she was down to build the front-end. Just like that, no sleep that night.
Ire: Timi showed me the tweet and said he wanted to make it into a site. I was really impressed by Heraa and the whole thing. It must have taken her weeks to compile all those sources and, like Timi said, displaying it as a spreadsheet isn’t the best presentation for all that effort. This tweet was different from the others because it had a real practical solution behind it.
Konbini: How did your backgrounds motivate you to create this site?
Timi: Personally grew up as a Muslim so I can relate. I know that Muslims shouldn't have to defend/condemn stuff to prove that the violence isn't the way of Islam. But sometimes, it's necessary to do this kind of thing to change a stereotype.
Ire: I grew up a Christian, but have some Muslim members of my family, so I have seen their frustration when things like 9/11 or the Charlie Hebdo attacks happen and they get people asking them to publicly condemn it.
It’s really frustrating and it just shows the quite messed up assumptions people have about Muslims. At least now those people can be pointed to this site, and hopefully it will educate them more about what Muslims actually believe. Even though I’m not a Muslim myself, stuff like that bothers me and in this case I had the skills to do something to help.
"I know that Muslims shouldn't have to defend/condemn stuff to prove that the violence isn't the way of Islam. But sometimes, it's necessary to do this kind of thing to change a stereotype."
Konbini: What is the long run aim for the site? Will it become something that people can alter themselves? Like wikipedia?
Timi: We haven't quite thought about it that far. There's currently a backend interface that we built for the tweeter to continue adding records if she pleases. But that's it for now.
Ire: For us this was just a short push to get this version done. If it seems like people want it to be a bigger thing than it is, I’m definitely up to extending it.
Konbini: Can you tell us anything more about this project and why you both did it?
Timi: She (Ire) is a major reason why this thing happened. There are not very many people I could bring this to that would not only encourage me, but will stay up and build it with me.
Ire: Timi was a real motivator/instigator with this project. It’s very easy to have the idea to do something like this, but he always actually executes, which motivates me to do the same. Also that we did the whole thing, from idea to launch, in less than 24 hours.
Head to Muslims Condemn now, to see more of the amazing work created by these two talented developers.
By Damilola Odufuwa, published on 17/11/2016