Muslim Girl had a chance to speak with CEO and Founder of Muzbnb, Hadi Shakuur.
According to their website, Muzbnb’s “community lists a variety of spaces ranging from houses, apartments, condos and much more.” Whether you’re looking to rent an entire house or just a room, the company has your back.
Hadi is quite literally creating a space for himself as well as all his Muslim brothers and sisters around the world by offering services now in more than 17 countries. Shakuur only launched the site in December.
Melding the power of start-ups and innovation with his desire to be a trojan horse of justice, Shakuur is the epitome of Millennial Muslims trying to do some good. Hold on to his last word; savor his thoughts. Let his work inspire you as much as it did us.
Muslim Girl: So, Give me a run-down of what exactly is Muzbnb? How would one go about using it?
Hadi Shakuur: The short answer is Air BNB for Muslims. The long answer would go something like this: we provide a platform for Muslims to list and book spaces that are accommodating to their Islamic faith as well as different needs they might have. It’s a travel company that plays the middleman in helping travelers find welcoming halal places as well as offering people the opportunity to earn some extra cash and host their homes while sharing their experiences and culture with others.
How would I connect with people if I am a potential customer?
Say you want to go to Malaysia. You go to our site, you put your check in, check out, and the number of guests and you will get a variety of options and you pick your favorite. There are a bunch of accommodations like maybe you want to be close to a masjid or your favorite restaurant, or you just want to go to a nice place with wifi and a nice prayer space or family friendly.
Muslims are not only a diverse group, but we travel a lot. There are different things that we have to consider every day: where we eat, places to pray, safety.
Whoa, there’s a whole host of options that you can choose from.
Yeah, there’s a ton of ways to filter your certain needs. We’re a very diverse group and what one may need, another may not.
How did you think of the idea?
Great question. I actually came up with it just thinking how can I serve the community in a cool innovative way.
Obviously, this hasn’t been done before so I definitely wanted to lead the charge with that. Muslims are not only a diverse group, but we travel a lot. There are different things that we have to consider every day: where we eat, places to pray, safety. People are discriminating us based on our names and all that stuff. Especially with the current political climate. Yeah, so I just wanted to add to the ecosystem in a way and not have us see our faith as a liability, but rather an asset.
Yes, we’re going to have to talk about that too at some point, but I want to know…How many countries do you connect people with?
United States, Canada, UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Mayalsia, Indonesia, Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, India, and the list goes on.
So you just started up in December. How’s business going?
It’s going really well.We’ve gotten a lot of interest from press like Buzzfeed, Washington Business, NPR. And a lot of people are really eager to list their homes.
Amazing. Alright, I want to U-turn a little with more onto the current political climate. Do you think your site is more relevant now given Trump’s recent actions?
Yeah, I definitely think it is more relevant than ever. I think the idea would be attractive at any time, but now since we’ve seen a change in rhetoric and attention towards Muslims, I think an organization like this propels us in a positive light. We’re not a selfish community. All faiths are welcome to use this website, as long as they respect and support our values.
With Muzbnb, we want to tackle a lot of issues. We want to showcase the differences and cultural richness that this community has to offer.
Did you ever face any personal discrimination from Air BNB?
I’ve heard a few instances. Her name was Eman Amrani and the host wouldn’t rent to her based on her name because it made her uncomfortable. I’ve also seen instances of people saying there will be no Muslims renting this house. One hijabi sister had to remove her picture from her profile because no one would rent to her.
You also run a blog. Why did you choose to add that?
With Muzbnb, we want to tackle a lot of issues. We want to showcase the differences and cultural richness that this community has to offer. This is easily the most diverse group the world has. We have nearly 2 billion people, so we want to give a space where we showcase that.
Wow. So your goal is essentially two-prong. On one hand, you want to provide this innovative service while generating revenue, but you also want to do good and use your platform to combat social injustice.
Yep, that’s totally right. Beautifully said, by the way. And that’s Islam.