WASHINGTON – (WMAL) A group of Muslim D.C. residents is looking to start up a website allowing people to open up homes that are welcoming and accommodating to Muslims. The new startup, named Muzbnb, looks to capitalize both on the success of its namesake, Airbnb, and work as a counterweight to growing anti-Muslim sentiments.
“(The current political climate) has inspired us, and it has, in an unfortunate way, kind of validated this idea,” founder Hadi Shakuur told WMAL. “(It’s) having a place where you feel welcome when you travel, and also having a place that’s accommodating to the many needs of the Muslim community.”
Shakuur said that may include close proximity to a mosque, or a home with a prayer space. Dietary needs are also important – the home can’t have alcohol or pork products. Not only are those amenities hard to find, he said it was difficult for Muslims to get any place on Airbnb to approve a stay.
“There was incidents of discrimination being recorded by Muslim travelers,” he said. “They were being rejected.”
Shakuur said the D.C.-based startup is still in the early stages, as it hopes to launch in spring. However, it has already seen interest from major cities in all corners of the world, he said. And you don’t have to be Muslim to be a part of it.
“The platform is designed to cater to the needs of Muslims, but it’s not solely restricted to Muslims,” he said. “It’s very welcoming and inviting to all those who respect the Islamic values of Muslims.”
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