The majority of Arab states have witnessed the political rise of Islamist currents, movements, and parties, particularly in the countries of the Arab Spring. This ascent has caught widespread public attention, and now a number of Arab researchers and journalists, specializing in Islamist groups, have launched a website called Islamyun.net, to serve as an information gateway to monitor news and developments pertaining to Islamist groups, parties, and organizations in Egypt and the wider world.
The people behind the website, based in Cairo, state that the aim of launching this service is to correct the wrong paths adopted by the media in dealing with issues relating to Islamist groups.
According to Islamyun’s chief editor Ali Abdel Aal, “correcting the wrong paths” means reporting news items about Islamist groups and forces as they are, without bias or editorialising. This approach comes in light of the recent outbreak of slanted news coverage, with information about Islamists being relayed via media outlets in accordance with specific viewpoints.
Abdel Aal told Asharq Al-Awsat: "The website aims to put forth a fair reading that consists of pure information about the activities of Islamist movements, parties, and organizations. We are not siding with or against any faction; we try to convey the news in an impartial manner, as much as we can, without defending or attacking any side."
Abdel Aal explained that the group behind the website, which consists of several Islamist and non-Islamist entities, adheres to the following principle: "We do not praise anyone for what they are not, and we also do not falsely or fraudulently accuse them either". He emphasized the website’s editorial line that is committed to objectivity.
With regards to the timing of Islamyun’s launch, Abdel Aal said: "The Islamists are now the key point of interest for large sectors of Arab and Muslim societies, especially with their current ascent to power. This was a major factor behind our decision to establish the website, especially as the Arab and Muslim media arena lacks such information outlets. We believe that the Islamist movements, parties, and forces need a website that collates their news coverage, rather than having odd reports scattered in various newspapers and news agencies".
The chief editor of Islamyun stressed that it was not the intention of the website’s editorial team or researchers to change the image of the Islamists; rather it is only to present impartial information about Islamist groups. Abdel Aal pointed out that the website has allocated sections for news relating to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, the Jihadis, armed movements, Islamist parties, groups and organizations, in addition to publishing research papers and studies, and background information on various Islamist entities.
Abdel Aal indicated that any communication with Islamist political parties was taking place only on the basis that they were a source of news, and that there were no joint links or ties with any of them. He said: "We are not seeking to present a political vision, and we have no links to any side".
Islamyun’s chief editor explained that the website is currently geared towards Arab readers inside and outside the Arab world. However, he hopes that the website will soon be translated into non-Arabic languages so that it can serve foreign audiences as well. Abdel Aal pointed out that Islamyun.net not only covers Islamist movements within the Arab world, but it also monitors developments in other Muslim countries, including for instance Malaysia, Turkey, and Pakistan.