Social and cultural practices are extending into the metaverse, and Muslim consumers are calling for spaces that respect and represent their faith.
According to a survey conducted by Wunderman Thompson Data for Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, 85% of respondents would like to experience metaverse spaces made for Muslims; 49% would like an opportunity to attend prayer in the metaverse, and 78% would like virtual religious accessories, such as hijabs and abayas, for their avatars. However, some consumers have concerns that the metaverse might be incompatible with an Islamic lifestyle and teachings: 59% of those surveyed, in fact. What does authentic representation for Muslim consumers look like in the metaverse?
MetaKawn is an emerging metaverse initiative designed for the Next Generation of Young Muslims community. The platform features 6348 exclusive NFTs that highlight themes of tolerance, multi ethnicity, style diversity, and gender equality. MetaKawn members can receive early and VIP access to private groups, communities and events, voting opportunities and presale access to new releases of NFTs with different skin tones, head coverings, hair styles, and other multicultural accessories and features.
MetaKawn, courtesy of Twitter.
Idiat Shiole, a Muslim virtual fashion designer based in Nigeria, creates fashion items for gaming platforms like Decentraland and sites such as Spatial. She has also designed collections in collaboration with the digital fashion house the Fabricant. All of her creations incorporate a Nigerian aesthetic – Hijabs, tribal markings, braided hair – and digital outfits that she feels accurately represent her. Shiole told Quartz that to her, “the metaverse means freedom.”
Earlier this year, Meta worked with Muslim creators using immersive tech to better tell their story as part of their Metaverse Culture Series. To honor Ramadan traditions, the #MonthofGood initiative launched in April, where Meta shared stories of Muslim communities making positive impacts and highlighting Muslim creators in immersive technology.
IBF Net, a blockchain services company, is expanding its Islamic economy into the world’s first shariah-compliant metaverse, starting with a space for learning and a marketplace. This platform allots attention and sensitivity to religious and cultural beliefs, providing a space for members of Islamic faith and Southeast Asian communities to participate in immersive environments without compromising their practice of faith, and aims to attract Muslim consumers into the metaverse.
Muslims interested in the metaverse are hesitant to engage in it and are searching for platforms that comfortably account for and consider their beliefs and culture. Brands would do well to consider what representation for their Muslim customers looks like in the metaverse as they build out their own communities and spaces in the digital realm: Muslim-centered communities designed by and built for others of their faith.
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