The most comprehensive guide
to mosques and Islamic schools

This site is more than just a location-based service - it hopes to create an accountable relationship between ourselves and the institutions that serve us
Shahed Amanullah, Salatomatic founder

Frequently asked questions
What does "Salatomatic" mean?

Salat is the arabic word for prayer, specifically one of the five daily prayers that Muslims are required to perform each day. "o-matic" is a colloquial American suffix from the 1940s and 50s that infers an automated system by which a product or service is delivered.

What definition of "Muslim" or "Islam" are you using to determine whether or not a sect or denomination is included?

As many readers are aware, the complexity of sectarian issues has resulted in a considerable difference of opinion among scholars. After careful thought, we have decided to be as inclusive as possible, since we are not a religious authority and are unable to assess the point where a mosque's theology goes beyond the boundaries of Islam.

Whether or not a mosque's claim to be run by Muslims is acceptable will therefore not be up to us to decide, but for the reader. As a result, the reviews on the site will be limited to facilities and quality of service, not theology. The sub-categories of a mosque's theology, however (Shia, Sunni, etc.) will be included, as they are expected to be self-definitions. The inclusion of a minority denomination or sect on Salatomatic is thus merely an acknowlegement of its existence.

Even if some readers feel that certain denominations or sects are not authentically "Islamic", there is still value in adding those places of worship to the database, since it is difficult to tell whether or not a building that looks like a mosque and identifies itself as such is of a particular denomination. Those who want to avoid such places of worship can learn about them on Salatomatic and not mistakenly enter them if they so choose.

At a time where Muslims are under scrutiny by government officials, isn't it irresponsible to be highlighting problems with our institutions? Won't those who dislike Muslims in the West use this information against us?

At Salatomatic, we believe that what happens in our mosques and the experiences Muslims have in attending them are nothing to be ashamed of. There are many documented examples where zealousness in protecting routine activities (i.e., khutbas) in mosques has resulted in increased suspicion and intervention by governmental authorities, sometimes for good reason (London's Finsbury Park mosque, for example). Honest assessments by readers will help reduce, not inflame, the suspicions held by non-Muslims about how we conduct our religious affairs in a civil society.

Although we understand the heightened sensitivities many Muslims feel today and share their concern for the Muslim community, we also believe that the welfare of the community is ultimately best served by promoting transparency, dialogue, and accountability. Like any other institution that competes for resources and membership, mosques should be encouraged to "compete in good works" and self-correct in order to make the mosque-going experience as ideal as possible.

Are you working with the FBI/CIA/Homeland Security/INS/Home Office? You seem to be doing their job for them.

The responsibilities of government officials, ostensibly to protect citizens (including Muslims) from breaches of law, are not helped or hindered by evaluations of mosque facilities, languages of khutbas, availability of parking, or how our leadership is elected. The vast majority of Muslims have nothing to hide and much to gain by transparency and honesty.

What kinds of reviews are allowed or not allowed?

We expect honest evaluations of the facilities and quality of service that every Muslim should expect from their mosque and leadership. These evaluations can include anecdotal experiences that Muslims have when they visit mosques (clean kitchens, women's facilities, etc.). We do not expect, nor will we accept (at our discretion), slander, libel, or theologically motivated (anti-Shia, etc.) criticism. Any unsubtantiated allegations will not be tolerated.

Many mosques have programs, classes, and events go under-utilized due to inadequate awareness in the community. Many mosques also lack websites or the resources to keep their information up to date. Reviews that help promote awareness of these services will be beneficial to the mosques themselves and the Muslim community at large.

Can Salatomatic verify the information submitted or claims made in the reviews section?

Salatomatic depends on its readers to verify and cross-verify reviews of mosque facilities and services. Because we have no way of verifying claims ourselves, we will err on the side of fairness and not allow claims that appear to us to contradict our guidelines against slander or intolerance.

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