Muslim Youth Find Religious Solutions at London Hackathon

The “hackathon” has become one of the latest attractions for Muslim youths.

An Islamic Education in the 21st Century hackathon was held last week (January 26) at the Makers Academy, a coding school in downtown London.

The event was led by Muslamic Makers and Deen Developers, two emerging London-based organizations hoping to connect Muslim technologists to put their skills to use for their community, Religion News Service reported.

Sohaib Saeed, a Scottish translator of Islamic texts, is one of the attendants. He had to drive close to 400 miles from Glasgow, Scotland.

“My field is Islamic studies, so I’m not usually seen at hackathons,” said Saeed, head of research at the Bayyinah Institute, where he specializes in Quranic studies and exegesis.

“But I came because I saw people interested in sincerely engaging with and advancing Islamic learning.”

Muslim Youth Find Religious Solutions at London Hackathon - About Islam
Attendees listen to showcase pitches Jan. 26, 2020, at the conclusion of the two-day Islamic Education in the 21st Century hackathon in London. RNS photo by Aysha Khan

Knowledge & Learning

At this hackathon, participants hoped to create tools for their fellow British Muslims to close the gaps in access to traditional Islamic knowledge and learning.

“As working professionals, we often fall into a routine: wake up, go to work, come back, relax, pray, sleep, do it all over again,” Ibrahim Javed, founder of Deen Developers and a software engineer at Deloitte, told the 50 participants.

“But this event is a testament to the fact that if you put in a bit of time and utilize the skills you’ve gained, you can achieve something that can be of benefit for the ummah and the community.”

Arfah Farooq, a co-founder of Muslamic Makers, said the goal of the event was to contribute to challenges related to faith.

“We wanted to bring Muslims working in tech together to support each other in a space that’s not tailored around booze, where there are prayer provisions and things like that,” Farooq told Religion News Service.

“If there was an organization like this when I started out if there was a space where I knew I didn’t have to hide my religion and my identity, where I learned that I could demand my rights, that would have changed everything.”