Need Prayer? Google Promotes Nearest Mosque


Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. If you were looking for prayer events in your area, you might have used a search engine to look for service times. If you did, you were likely surprised that those search engines assumed you had your Qur’an in one hand and your prayer rug in the other.

Here’s a little experiment you can try right now. Google “Prayer in ____;” filling in the blank with the name of your city.

I’m betting the first search result will be a link to www.islamicfinder.org. As a matter of fact, it’s likely that most, if not all of the results on the first page, will be Islamic links.

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Will it play in Peoria? Let’s try it. “Prayer in Peoria, IL” returns the following results:

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www.islamicfinder.org

www.salahtimes.com

www.ifpeoria.com (Islamic Foundation of Peoria)

www.islamicity.com

www.icpeoria.org (Islamic Center of Peoria)

www.muslimpro.com

Let’s try another one. If Bugs Bunny wanted to say a prayer after missing a left turn in Albuquerque, NM, he’d do a Google search and find the same: Islamicfinder, SalahTimes, and a few extra’s like www.icnm-abq.org – which would welcome him to the Islamic Center of New Mexico!

If you’re still saying “Show me!” — let’s take a look in Missouri. “Prayer in Jefferson City” nets us, of course, IslamicFinder, MuslimPro, www.jcmc.org (Jefferson City Muslim Community); then surprisingly throws us some Christian links farther down the page.

No matter what city you pick, Google displays Islamic Finder as the first search result; a site that will ensure your prayer schedule is spot on. It even gives you a different quote from Allah every day, as well as a list of local Masjids, Islamic Centers and Muslim Owned Businesses.

Try it on Yahoo or Bing and you’ll get fairly similar results.

People typing “prayer” into search engines are usually those who are urgently looking for others to pray when they or a loved one fall into desperate circumstances. They are people looking for help and hope; people asking questions.

It would seem that someone, somewhere, is hoping they’ll turn to Islam for the answers.

Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com.

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