Having established its presence on Twitter and Facebook, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah has sought help from computer programmers to develop games and mobile phone apps that it intends to launch next year.
The first hint about the JuD’s plans to develop games and apps came in the form of some tweets from @JuD_Official, the group’s account on micro-blogging site Twitter.
When one user jokingly questioned whether the game would be a “first person shooter”, @JuD_Official responded that it would highlight the group’s “charitable” work.
Abdul Rehman from JuD’s information technology and social media department told The Express Tribune that the group plans to make “educational, informative and philanthropic kind of games that will infuse positive thoughts such as helping others in need, emergency situations, Islamic ethics and learning of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”
Abdul Rehman said the group’s plans to develop games and apps were apparently inspired by the teachings of Prophet Mohammed.
“We have also learned from the life of Prophet Mohammed, that he has always forbidden from things that waste time and have no benefit as such.
“Games and cell phones are few of those factors. So the best way forward is to provide a replacement that does provide entertainment but with sound learning and information — anything that helps an individual or the society,” he said.
The games will try to provide an alternative to the “damage that has been done by violent games that most gaming giants have made throughout these years”, Mr. Rehman claimed.
The JuD, named as a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba by the UN Security Council, has stepped up its use of the internet and social media, including Twitter and Facebook, to raise funds and to spread propaganda aimed at fomenting unrest in India in recent months.
Earlier this year, the JuD also revamped its website, which continued functioning despite some restrictions imposed on the group in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The sectarian riots in Assam earlier this year led to a spurt of messages on JuD’s Twitter account calling for solidarity with Muslims in the Indian state.
In recent weeks, the JuD has also floated a Twitter account for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the driving force behind the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, which comprises over 40 hardline and extremist groups. Saeed is one of the prime suspects of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
A USD 10 million bounty offered for Saeed by the US has not hampered his activities.
Saeed lives in Lahore and has addressed several large gatherings across Pakistan since the reward was announced.