6- The So­cial Chasm

ArabAd - - TRENDS -

as well. Grindr, a dat­ing app for ho­mo­sex­ual men, and its les­bian coun­ter­part, Wapa, are in heavy use. While there are no re­li­able sur­veys for these hap­pen­ings, a re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tion in Cairo claimed that there were pre­cisely 2,293 athe­ists in the Arab world, with 866 of them liv­ing in Egypt. Moroc­can jour­nal­ist Ahmed Benchemsi has been able to find “over 250 pages or Athe­ist groups, with mem­ber­ships rang­ing from a few in­di­vid­u­als to more than 11,000,” on Face­book alone. And while there are no sta­tis­tics on how many women have taken off their hi­jabs or how many peo­ple have come out as LGBT, brands such as Raye7, a cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive ride shar­ing ser­vice that is syn­ony­mous with UBER, Min­der, the Mus­lim Tin­der and Mus­lim­face, a Mus­lim so­cial net­work­ing site sim­i­lar to Face­book, might be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what is un­fold­ing.

These crack­downs — as well as the many personal sto­ries of lib­er­a­tion — are just a few of many. But they demon­strate what’s hap­pen­ing on the ground. It’s a bat­tle be­tween con­ser­va­tive es­tab­lish­ments em­ploy­ing the old tools of dic­ta­tor­ship and a young, rev­o­lu­tion­ary gen­er­a­tion tak­ing to so­cial me­dia and other in­no­va­tive plat­forms. The con­sumer mar­ket will in­creas­ingly re­flect this new re­al­ity.

Min­der, Mus­lim Dat­ing App Data Source: For­eign Pol­icy

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