STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Few people would associate Stockholm, the capital of the secular northern European kingdom Sweden, known for Ikea, ABBAand herrings, with the Muslim faith until today.
As the base for a groundbreaking new project tailored to connecting tech-savvy Muslims around the world, the Quran will, forever be linked with Sweden on the information superhighway.
The initiative, MyQuran, spearheaded by the Swedish company Dub Tools, will provide people across the globe with mobile access to the Holy Quran through audio streaming. With a simple ‘click’ and ‘go’ on the mobile, users will be able to access and listen to verses from the Quran wherever and whenever they please.
“Our technology, together with the fast growing number of high speed mobile networks, liberates the world’s most relevant book to the worldwide Muslim society. The service will be the first chance for many to listen to the Quran without buying a CD or cassette, Dub Tools wrote in a recent press release.
A variety of additional services such as chat rooms and discussion forums connecting users are also in the pipeline.
“We are planning to have this project serve as a portal for the Muslim world. Like a Myspace for Muslims, Peo Stromberg, creator of MyQuran, told Daily News Egypt.
The project is the first of its kind in the world and with no mobile Quran streaming service in any other country, the potential is ‘huge’ with a market of over 1,6 billion Muslims worldwide.
“We believe that audio streaming will replace downloading in the future. Who wants to sit and watch a slow download when you can just click and play without having to save anything? Streaming is also a strategic option in terms of copyright. You do not violate any laws if you do not download, Stromberg emphasized.
Recently authorized by the Islamic Council in Sweden, MyQuran has reportedly already attracted much attention from global investors.
“We are currently negotiating with more than 40 investors worldwide. We have not come across one single mobile operator or investor who is not interested in this project. There is an enormous demand for the product, Stromberg stressed.
The site is to be test launched for Sweden’s Muslim community in early September in close cooperation with the Islamic Council in Sweden.
In exchange for part of the income from the services of MyQuran, the Council will provide recording by the best available Quranic recitors available, said Stromberg.
“With that income, the organization will be able to contribute to community outreach projects such as the building of schools, he added.
The launch, which will coincide with the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan (when Muslims fast) will grant curious users a free introduction to the services of MyQuran.
Once the project is officially launched, however, users will be asked to pay a monthly service fee.
“The amounts will vary from country to country. In Sweden for example, we will probably be looking at around 30 crowns per month (approximately LE 45), while we would charge our Egyptian users perhaps LE 25 per month. It is all relative, Stromberg said.
The service will be available in several languages although the Quran audio streaming will only be in Arabic.
According to Stromberg, Sweden was chosen as a test market due to the tolerant nature of the country in terms of religious issues.
“In case the product would contain a defect in design, we feel it is better that it is detected in Sweden than in some of our more religious target countries where the results could be potentially devastating, Stromberg continued.
Regarding potential ethical issues, Dub Tools’ Palestinian-Swedish Bjorn Toulac stresses that he does not foresee ‘any problems’.
“Our service provides Muslims with access to the Quran whenever, wherever, and however. God’s language is not changeable but it can be accommodated to new markets and generations, Toulac said.
Dub Tools is scheduled to meet mobile operators in the Middle East by early September to discuss launching dates.
For more information, please visit http://myquran.mobi/.