Everyone it seems, from counterterrorism experts in the West to ISIL members in Iraq, want to connect with young Muslims, for good and for bad.
Imam Suhaib Webb believes he’s figured out a way: Snapchat.
For the past few months, Webb, a Muslim scholar based in Washington, D.C., has been answering young Muslims’ questions via eight-second videos. His Snapchat story topics cover everything from dating and drugs, to the exact specifications for prayer and fasting.
As a graduate of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, Webb is not only a shaykh, but a mufti, meaning he has earned the authority to issue Islamic rulings, or fatwas. He’s now issued several fatwas through Snapchat, coining the term ‘Snapwās’.
Webb believes Snapchat makes Islam more accessible to younger Muslims, in their teens and early 20s. He also finds social media useful for providing a fast way of gauging whether his messages are successful.
“As a content provider, you’re able to monitor and evaluate yourself. Are you relevant? Are you saying things that make sense to people? How can you improve?”
Webb is well known for his efforts to to translate Islam for young American Muslims. He’s previously given Friday sermons on Breaking Bad and The Hunger Games, and other popular movies and TV shows.
And he doesn’t restrict himself to Snapchat. Webb can be found on just about every other social media platform, including Facebook, Periscope, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.