SITE AUDIT : WWW.OUMMA.COM

I. Introduction

1. The Topic

The website Oumma.com is an independent initiative which aims to inform people about Islamic culture and current events regarding the integration of Muslims in Western societies (especially in France). Oumma.com describes itself as “the first website of French-speaking Islam”. Its rate of activity is about 6 millions/month. Moreover, Oumma.com is recognized for its quality by both Muslim community and European media such as Le Monde, El País or Die Zeit…

 
2. Topicality-context

Oumma.com was created in September 1999. The website is administered by the French association “Oumma.com” which is a 1901 law non profit association.

The Oumma.com’s team is an independent collective which gathers Muslims and no-Muslims from various countries, without any discrimination concerning their “islamicity”, their political views or their community belonging. Members of the association have different backgrounds: there are scholars, executive officers, journalists, engineers…

According to its team Oumma.com has a dual purpose:

  • To give news about religious and cultural life of France’s second religion by organising ideas debates, engaging dialogue with religious authorities of different religions, public and social actors, and media.

  • To contribute to change the negative image of Islam in France.

 
3. Why we chose Oumma.com

We chose this website because of its difficult aim: in the current context of post 9/11, traditional media give a "unilateral" image of Islam and Oumma.com tries to make French-speaking Muslims’voice heard. Besides, Oumma.com is targeting French-speaking Muslims and doesn’t fear to address questions concerning current debates about Islam/ democracy/ cultural identities and position of Muslims born in Western societies. We thought it is a relevant point of view which is important for anyone who wants to analyse these topics.

 

II. Complete inventory

1. Form

  • Design

The website design is quite restrained: orange and blue are the only two colours. There is no green whereas it is the “Muslim” colour, it demonstrates a will to be considered as a serious site, more than an ideological site. The “oumma.com logo is very simple”, there is no fantasy, again to show its serious ambition.

    • Functionality

The website is divided into seven subsections:

      • The Home page where we can find new items, every article recently updated.

      • Oumma TV: here we can watch videos (interviews, debates, discussions….). Most of the protagonists are professors, former legislative election’ candidates who explain their program, or authors who present their books…

      • Press: This section presents the site from the national and international media’s point of view. Thus we can learn that the website is quoted by Courrier international, Le Monde, France info,Liberation… and many others.

      • Articles: this part is itself divided into many subdivisions such as Current news, Oumma association, Readers, Letters, Culture, Debates, History, Interreligious, International, Politic, Portrait/Interview, Science and religion, Sociality, Spirituality, where we can find articles related. The subdivisions “Oumma TV” and “in booksellers” return to the sections “Oumma TV” and “books”.

      • Books: here we can find book reviews about recent or former books which talk about important Islamic issues.

      • Oumma.com? : In this part, the website describes itself, its aim, its actors…

      • Contact us: here we can find the Editing, advertising service and technical team’ mails.

In addition to these seven sections, we can see in every pages the Research window which facilitates the access to every articles, video…


2. Contents

As the main topic, Islam, is very important nowadays, the website proposes a certain quantity of articles. Their quality depends on the author, but there are a lot of articles written by renowned researchers, which proves the scientific ambition of the website. Since there are a lot of authors, from different origins, professions… almost every point of views are looked over. Eventually, in general, the articles are well written, understandable, their topics are recent and deal with current issues.

 

 

III. Critical analysis


1. Form

  • Negative points

The form of Oumma.com has a main negative point: advertising. There are a lot of display windows which are moving and flashing continuously and this is unpleasant when you are reading an article or watching a video.

  • Positive points

The positive points are the simplicity of use (titles of different sections are clear, documents are easily accessible…) and the design (colours aren’t aggressive, pictures are numerous -for each topic there is a corresponding picture: photos of interviewed people or book jaket…-)



2. Contents

  • Negative points

Negative points about the content aren’t many. The main website’s flow is a dedicated lexicon. This tool, bringing together all Islamic terminology would be very practical for untrained readers about Islam.

I can add that Oumma.com focus on Arabic Islam and doesn’t often treat about Islam in other part of the world (but it can be understood because most of French Muslims are native from North Africa).

  • Positive points

Oumma.com has a lot of positive points, undeniably. First of all, quality of the articles is obvious: topics are chosen with care and all current debates are analysed. All articles mention their authors, in addition readers can react and share their opinion with other readers…There is a multiplicity of supports: articles, streaming videos and a search motor.

 

IV. Verdict

We think that Oumma.com can be improved to be more practical and accessible for a larger public. Our propositions are to add:

 
  1. a lexicon vocabulary of Islamic terminology

  2. a brief chronology of Islam (for an historical point of view)

  3. a short presentation of Islamic rites and specificities (the five pillars, the fourth juridical schools in Sunna, the divide with Shi’a…)

- a short biography of each author might be interesting, in

order to access more information…

 

 

Finally, Oumma.com is a reference website if you want to be aware of all current events about Islam in France, societal and geopolitical problems in Arabic countries (for example Anthony Arnove wrote an analysis concerning his last book…); for all these reasons it must be retained.