Has your friend ever texted you to make duaa (prayer) for her and you wished you could easily reply with a “girl making duaa” emoji? Or reply with a samosa emoji when your mother asks you what you want for dinner? Well, now you can! Thanks to Sakeena Rashid, who created Islamoji.
Rashid is a realtor, publisher, and app developer from Ohio. Check out Muslim Girl’s interview with this awesome lady.
Muslim Girl: Why did you create Islamoji?
Sakeena Rashid: The idea came about a year ago after I saw celebrity emoji keyboards come out. I immediately thought, I wonder if a Muslim emoji keyboard could be created?
I love emojis and I always use them in conversations with my friends and family. I wanted something that would be fun to use and include Muslim sayings and
cultural objects that we’re all familiar with.
So, I began researching the idea and found a way I could produce it. I took developer courses, watched webinars and read countless articles and books until I felt comfortable with the knowledge I had, that I would be able make this product a reality.
What are some of your favorite emojis from your app?
The Muslim dabbing bro/hijabi is probably my favorite. When the designer sent it to me I literally laughed out loud. I was so tickled by them.
The crying while making duaa emoji, I think is adorable and we can all relate. Kareem the frog, zartar bread, Bepsi, Jummah Parking, wudu friendly nail polish and the Arab/CP time emojis are my favorites. Just some of the ones that are hilarious and make me laugh. Oh, and the “bye Felicia” hijabi gif is up there too.
Why do you think it’s important to have such an app today?
I think representation matters. I want Muslim youth to feel that they are special and deserving of something that looks like them and reflects their culture. We live at a time where our youth are particularly vulnerable. They are seeing a lot of negative images in media and online about Muslims and they’re dealing with a rise of school bullying.
So, with all of those factors working against them, if they see this app and feel important and validated, then I think I’ve taken a big step in the right direction to push back against some of that negative energy.
Please tell our readers why this campaign is so much more than just an app. You also founded a publishing company called Deeni Girl Media (DGM) four years ago. What is DGM all about?
So basically, the app is a fundraiser for a much larger vision. I started Deeni Girl Media (DGM) four years ago as a way to self-publish my first book. Now, with the success of the app, we plan to use those funds as seed money to grow DGM into an established publishing house, with the aim of turning more Muslim writers into authors. Our mission is to amplify Muslim voices in media and to create a platform to tell our stories authentically. It bothers me to see so much negativity about Islam, and about Muslims in the media.
Our identities have become very political, and often the subject matter is fixated on the same issues. It’s a one-dimensional view that doesn’t accurately represent Muslims as individuals or even us collectively. There are so many important topics that as a community we should be discussing, like autism in the Muslim family, and marriage relations, and raising well-adjusted children. Those are some of the real issues that we want to see written about and ultimately publish under DGM.
How much does the app cost and when does the Launchgood campaign end?
The app will be $1.99. I wanted to price it at the same price point as other apps in our category. We anticipate closing the campaign at the end of April.
Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know about in regards to your LaunchGood campaign or about yourself?
I want readers to know that this app was created with them in mind. I want their feedback and I want to hear from them as to what they’d like to see added to the app to make it better.
And lastly, the time to support is now. If someone wants the app and believes in what we’re trying to do, now is the time to make a donation to make this dream a reality.
Make sure to purchase the app from the LaunchGood campaign. It ends soon!