Omar Suleiman, a Muslim American imam from Dallas and founder of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, is taking on the world’s largest search engine to stop it from spreading hate.
Suleiman and his team have been publishing reports on controversial topics in Islam ― like jihad ― in the hopes of influencing the search algorithm. His goal is to flood the search results with accurate information on Islam. Basic searches for words like “Muslim” and “Islam” return reasonable results with links to reputable sites. But more specific terms, like “sharia,” “jihad” or “taqiyya” ― often co-opted by white supremacists ― return links to Islamophobic sites filled with misinformation.
The same thing happens with the autofill function. If a user types in “does islam,” the first suggestion that pops up to complete the query is “does islam permit terrorism.” Another egregious example occurs when a user inputs “do muslim.” The autofill results include “do muslim women need saving.”