In the last few days Snapchat’s ‘Live Story’ feature, which allows users to view clips and short videos that surround certain themes, has featured content from different cities. The app, which allows users to view content shared by friends for a limited amount of time, also allows users to view and submit content based on geographical locations. They’ve featured Tel Aviv, West Bank, and most recently Mecca.
Although only glimpses of Mecca were shown, the reactions were incredibly positive. Topsy, a digital analytics website, reported that there were over a million mentions on Twitter. Many commented that Islam looked so peaceful and so beautiful. At the same time many people remarked on the unity, and seeing such a different interpretation of Islam.
With depictions of the Islamic State and other massive terrorist groups being the only depiction of Islam that are seen on mass media, it is refreshing to finally see the true image of the religion. Islam was built on unity; the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, managed to unite a disunited Arabia under the culture of Islam. He took a hierarchical, tribal system and replaced it with an egalitarian movement where no one was superior or inferior. In Islam, everyone is equal.
This unity is still present in Mecca, which is the holiest city in Islam. Snapchat allowed a glimpse into the Islamic world, showing users it’s unity and brotherhood. It was this entire atmosphere that made me appreciate my faith all those years ago, and it’s evident that it’s having the same effect on those who are watching the live stream. It’s ironic that groups such as the Islamic State, who try to convince the world that they are the true image of Islam, are tearing apart the unity in the religion, and it’s sad that they get the most air time.
However, Snapchat showed the world the real Islam; a world of unity, peace, love and worship. In a time when the media depiction of the religion is surrounded by hate, violence and bloodshed, it is important to be reminded of the other, more accurate representation of this ever-growing religion. It was when I first journeyed to Mecca that I saw the true beauty in my religion, and thankfully many people got to see the same.