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French Muslims invent App that allows people to find prayer space

Finding a prayer place in France is not an easy task, so they created an App to help them and other Muslims.

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The country has relatively few Muslim prayer spaces compared with the population of muslims in France. However, a group of five friends from a variety of backgrounds decided they could do something about a problem they found themselves facing every day.

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They created an online community they called Salatsurfing, building an app and website to link the faithful with people willing to donate space. Salatsurfing lists about 150 spaces homes or businesses throughout France. About 2,500 people have joined since the geolocation service started in September.

Sofiane Benabdallah, one of the founders, says the idea is similar to Airbnb or Uber — with one crucial difference: The service is free and the space is donated.

"By no means do we want to replace mosques. The mosque's role is clearly identified in Islam's precepts," said Yosra Farrouj, another of the founders. "Salatsurfing is really an alternative in the way we allow someone to pray when a mosque is closed or there is no mosque around."

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Otmane Aziz, whose meeting room is among the listings, said it was natural to donate it as a prayer space.

"It's a question of brotherhood, solidarity. To me, it seems right," Aziz said.

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