Browsing "for muslim women"
Jun 18, 2010 - for muslim women    1 Comment

How to Shop a Bazaar!


A girly shopping topic…

Ok so you know how like when you see this girl wearing something sooo gorgeous and you’re like ‘OMG that is sooo cute…where did you get it?’. Then she says ‘ICNA/ISNA’ and to add insult to injury she says ‘and it was only 20 bux!’ and then you’re like wahhhh i went to isna and the only thing that I could find was this auntie style jilbab that was like 50 bux *cry

So I’m going to teach you how to rock the ISNA Bazaar. Now these are trade secrets, but since you read my blog I make an exception for y’all. But keep it on the d/l. ;)

Ok so we all know the bazaar at ICNA/ISNA is fabulous. I’m so serious. We all spend so much money during the year buying junk from malls or wherever, getting people generic gifts or wearing blah stuff to weddings/the masjid. But whyyy do we do that instead of trying to find something really awesome and also supporting other Muslims?! Where else can you get the best of the best stuff from all over the Muslim world. AND uniquely Muslim American type things you just can’t find anywhere else even if you visited stores or ethnic store neighborhoods individually. Like in the same place you have every style of hijabs, jilbabs, desi outfits, jewelery, gold, tasbeehs, all manners of Islamic books, french designer hijabi clothes, spanish muslim leatherbound albums, framed black and white photographs, wooden art calligraphy… I mean really you been there so I don’t need to go on and on..

Here’s the strategy…

First of all, during the year you should be saving money for shopping. If you don’t have any money do not, whatever you do, do not not walk into the bazaar. :)

Ok so a few weeks before the conference/convention coming up, start making a list of things you need and would like to get there. Are there any weddings coming up? Do you need some new lecture CDs? Want to get certain type of books? Need an outfit for Eid? Be specific too… a light blue hijab, black sleeves, hamza yusuf’s latest CD set. You can even bring fabric samples of your things to find matching colors. (There’s no better place to find exactly matching hijab/jewelry!) Write these all down on a list that you’re going to bring with you. Think of a budget for each. For the wedding gift say you’re looking for something around $75, for your friend’s wedding you want to spend about $100 for your outfit, for new Hijabs you’ve set aside $50…whatever, but try to make it practical and know your money is divided up in blocks for the certain things you wanted. Bring that amount in cash. Try hard not to use your credit card or go to the ATM which will make you go over your budget.

(Don’t forget to set aside some money for charity as well. There are so many amazing beautiful causes that set up booths in the bazaar as well like women’s shelters, islamic relief and even ppl trying to build a mosque in Alaska!)

Then you arrive… first day at ISNA/ICNA this is what you do: Walk through the bazaar at a steady pace checking out what’s there. Needless to say you should be wearing moderately comfortable shoes. From one end to the other up and down. You are window shopping to see what prices different people have for various things. BUT if you see something fabulously unique or amazing BUY IT IMMEDIATELY. Remember those hand-made Islamic spanish leather diaries, I was like ‘sooo gorgeous’ I’ll buy one later, took a circuit around the bazaar and came back and they WERE GONE!! Never to be seen again at any ISNA :( So if there is something beautiful, unique or perfect buy it.

Ok so now you have the general layout of the bazaar down, you have an idea of prices and where the best quality stuff is. Schedule some chunks of time from your lecture and events schedule and go down the aisles from one end to the other. Start from one side and remember the aisle numbers, like you just did from 100 to the 500s the day before, so when you come back you’ll continue from booths 500 etc. Avoid times when the bazaar is hugely crowded like Saturday nights or main meal times. You’ll just waste time squeezing through people and getting run over by ubiquitous baby carriages. If clothes shopping, the racks are going to be full and it will be crowded but do your best to go through them all to find things you love. Most stall owners will allow you to take the item to a bathroom to try on if you’re really interested. Then over the next days you buy the things you have down on your list…. kid’s books for your niece/nephews check, a funny muslim t-shirt for your brother check, a light blue hijab and matching bracelets for your outfit at home check etc.

Don’t forget to always pick up people’s cards or catalogs for interesting products and items. There have been so many times this has been useful to me during the year when I want to refer something to someone or need something again.

YOU HAVE TO BARGAIN! Did you think cuz you were in Amreeka now everything was fixed price? Sorry no… when I was a student I was sooo good at this, I never bought anything at the first price, not even books or anything. You can usually get people to bring down their prices on everything.

The best people to learn from on how to shop at these bazaars are from aunties. Stop and watch a few and learn. These ladies grew up knowing how to shop at bazaars! I watched a few and noticed right away that they immediately start chatting to the shop keepers. They totally dig through every outfit rack and every bin to find amazing stuff. They’re not shy about saying something is too expensive or that someone’s selling the same thing for cheaper somewhere else. They get huge discounts if they buy stuff in multiples. They never act like they really want something even if they want it. They establish a ‘bargained over’ price even if they walk away so when they come back they can buy it at that price instead of the shop keeper knowing you came back for it and keeping the price high.

A Note: Now we’re all Muslim here and that’s fine. If you’re wealthy go ahead and give the shopkeeper the extra few dollars. But I’m assuming I’m talking to girls and students who have saved all year trying to buy a few nice things, so to maximize their money they should bargain and know that no shopkeeper will EVER sell anything lower than their cost.

While you’re in the bazaar enjoy yourself as well. You’ll run into old friends, meet some interesting people, maybe taste-test some new things. See some really wacky bizarre things, some really amazing new things going on in the Ummah. It’s fun! I’m a person that loves souks and bazaars. I hate malls tho :( Not to actually buy stuff, just because it’s so social, interesting and fun. I’d even take walks down the souk near my house in Damascus just to enjoy the experience.

Finally last day: a lot of people just drop their prices like crazy….$20 jilbabs, stuff for way less. They want to sell everything so they don’t have to carry that junk home. And you know what they say…one person’s junk is another person’s treasure ;) Spend an hour and just go through the bazaar looking for any cool bargains.

Ok then, there you go ladies…hope you get some awesome stuff and can’t wait to see it ;)

Love, me

Some interesting pics from last year’s bazaar:

May 28, 2010 - for muslim women    7 Comments

Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along? (special guest blog by Sr Hosai)


Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

by Sr Hosai


I’ve been wearing hijab for almost 16 years alhamdulillah, but I’ll be the first to say I didn’t always look “modest”. In fact, like most women, hijabi or otherwise, I’ve been through many phases trying to find my own personal style and getting comfortable with my body and self.

Today there is a pervasive misconception that hijab automatically equals modesty, but I couldn’t disagree more. Hijab is a concerted effort towards modesty but by no means does one wearing hijab automatically become modest. Modesty, after all, is a disposition, an ATTITUDE. You can wear hijab and act completely immodest or you can not wear hijab and exude it from your head to your feet. In fact, some of the most modest women I know do not wear hijab and increasingly I’m beginning to see many girls who wear hijab yet do not dress or act very modestly. So, it’s not so black and white.

In my personal life I am surrounded by beautiful Muslim women, some of them wear hijab and some of them do not. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the issue of hijab has been one of the most divisive among the women of our community. On both sides of the divide there is prejudice, judgement, misconception, disrespect and A LOT of ego. Those who wear hijab can knowingly or sometimes even unknowingly give off an air of self-righteousness as though they are the only ones with a claim on piety and modesty. Those who don’t wear hijab are often mistreated, judged or discriminated against for not doing so which elicits an often unfair negative reaction towards hijab and those who wear it.

My question is, do we not share the same faith? Are we not all blessed with the truth of this most beautiful deen? Have we not all been invited by the Lord of the Universe to testify to His truth? I don’t care if you shroud yourself in 10 yards of fabric and the only thing I see are your eyes or if you choose to dress according to all the latest fashion trends of this society–you are a Muslim woman and you are my sister. I am NOT your judge and you are NOT mine. We need to stop the self-righteousness and instead of focusing on the issue of hijab, we should focus on the issue of modesty because that is something that applies to anyone who calls him/herself a Muslim.

Modesty is about confidence. The moment you decide to live and dress modestly you are making a very strong statement to the rest of the world that as a woman, as a free-thinking, intellectual, articulate and educated HUMAN BEING, you are taking the power back from every one who has ever made you question your self-worth. Modesty is about pleasing God and acknowledging the fact that He knows what is better for you than anyone or anything else in creation. When we are ordered to be modest is it for no other reason but to honor us, to raise us in esteem and to protect us? Similarly, when we are encouraged to dress immodestly is it for no other reason than to exploit us, demean us, and weaken us?

Whether you currently wear hijab but don’t dress or act very modestly, want to take the next step in living modestly and wear hijab, or if you’re not quite ready to wear the hijab, what about just making a commitment to dressing with self-respect and carrying yourself with dignity and class? This is as simple as forsaking the “skinny jeans” for looser ones, the low-cut tops for a higher neckline, the tank-tops for longer sleeves, and the short skirts and dresses for longer ones. And even more importantly, this is about changing your attitude and seeing yourself as more than just a walking coat hanger full of embellishments.

It’s also important to note that those who already wear hijab and feel there is a contradiction between their appearance and behavior must not lose hope or, even worse, allow the whisperings of Shaitan to affect them by removing their hijab altogether. He is notorious for using our own insecurities, feelings of guilt, and low spiritual ebbs to push us away from God. We must remember that every action is judged by intention and the one who endures spiritual struggles but perseveres for the sake of God is rewarded more than the one whose spiritual matters are facilitated. So, ask God for strength and take measured and moderate steps to make the necessary changes. No matter where we are on our individual paths, we must constantly remember that the One who put us on there does absolutely nothing in vain and guidance and misguidance are His alone to decide.

God loves you. He created you, He fashioned you, He made you as you are and sees you wholly. His value of you is based on what you make of the beating flesh that resides in your chest; your heart is the only concern you should have with Him. And if you want to present a sound heart to Him then start thinking about what would make Him happy. The first step towards that is a commitment to changing anything that would displease Him. Immodesty displeases Him.

So, my beautiful Muslim sisters, hijabi and non-hijabi, let us renew our faith and love in Him and commit to living and dressing modestly. Which is not just an issue of the fabric or lack of on our heads but is an issue of ATTITUDE, of disposition, and ultimately seeking the pleasure of the only One who truly matters.

I love you all and sincerely wish you the best in this world and the next.

Mar 26, 2010 - for muslim women    9 Comments

Defriend your facebook stranger “friends”

Hey lil girls. This one’s for you.

Don’t you just love it when cute guys add you. They’re just so nice and it feels good to have so many guy friends who think you’re ‘gorgeous’ and ‘beautiful’. It’s so easy to friend “abdu” cuz he is so cute in his picture. And don’t you just love it when he tells you you’re so “fcukin HOT” in your pictures?

YUp, so please read the article below and come back.

OK now you know. Never. Ever. Meet anyone from the internet. Of course you wouldn’t right. You don’t even have to. I know your name of course, everyone leaves it on your wall and through other things. (Facebook btw never actually deletes it even if you change it.) Got your high school listed on there? OK. No? ‘Hey I’m a high school student too what school do you go to?’ That’s all the info I need to look you up. Got a status message like “going to the mall today” or “studying at the library”? Yeah.  Now I know where you’re going to be. It be almost tooo easy. Don’t give out your name or location ever? But you don’t even have to. Just click on this funny application here and it picks up your ip and exact location for me.

Muslim guys would never stalk girls right? Mmmhmmm.  A million years ago a guy called my house. No joke. I was like… ‘Who are you? You’re some guy I talked to once about some thing. How did you get this number’? He said simply ‘You told me your name (I hadn’t) and I looked up your information’.  I still to this day don’t know how he found me. And if that doesn’t make your blood run cold… another true story:  Guy somehow gets girl to download something. Turns out for the next 3 months he had full access to her computer. Muslim. guy. Ask around and you’ll find out who the poor girl was too.

Another ‘Muslim’ guy admitted that he downloads pictures of Muslim girls and looks at them when he ….(sorry about the language of this post but I’m sure you get it.)

Now that I’ve put the fear of God in you I hope you’ll be a little paranoid. A little paranoid is good. That intuition or second thought has saved women from the likes of Ted Bundy all the way down to this guy, where that other girl had second thoughts and said ‘No I don’t want to meet you this weekend.’ That saved her life. Who’s on your friend list? Do you really know who they are? Are you OK with strangers having all your information? Indeed. The end.

P.S. If you need help with your privacy settings, let me know inshaAllah.


From original Daily mail article:

Ashleigh Hall, 17, was killed by a rapist who groomed her online. Who’s YOUR child talking to on Facebook tonight ?

She was a young girl who lacked confidence and simply wanted a boyfriend.

Then Ashleigh Hall clicked on to Peter Chapman’s Facebook profile and saw a bare-chested teenager who was muscular, good looking and – crucially – interested in her. Tragically for the 17-year-old trainee nursery nurse, the image of her young suitor was bogus.

Ashleigh Hall Peter Chapman

Murdered: Ashleigh Hall, 17, was befriended by Peter Chapman on the Facebook social networking site. She was raped and murdered before her body was dumped next to a farmer’s field

In fact, he was a shaven-headed 33-year-old serial rapist who would lure her to her death and dump her in a ditch. The appalling case has highlighted the astonishing ease with which potential predators can lure in their victims via social networking sites such as Facebook.

Last night, Ashleigh’s mother Andrea pleaded: ‘Parents – ask your kids to tell you who they are talking to online.’ As ‘calculated and wicked’ Chapman began a minimum jail term of 35 years for Ashleigh’s kidnap, rape and murder, it emerged that despite being a registered sex offender he had vanished off the police ‘radar’ for over a year after his risk level was downgraded.


Alter-ego: Chapman used a picture of a good-looking teenager to entice his victim

Mrs Hall, 39, wept as horrific details of her daughter’s last few hours were revealed in court. She said later: ‘Ashleigh wasn’t a bad kid. She wasn’t naughty. She made one mistake and has paid for it with her life. ‘Something more should have been done to stop him. He had someone else’s photo on his (Facebook) page. ‘It’s an awful thought that there is a boy out there and this man was using his photo to prey on young girls. It is unimaginable what my family and I have been through.’

Chapman had previously been jailed for raping and robbing two prostitutes – including a 17-year-old – at knifepoint but a series of failings allowed him to roam free. Even on the day he was arrested for the murder, he was on his way to meet yet another ‘Facebook friend’. He was stopped by police over a suspected arson attack in Newbury, Berkshire, a month earlier.

The case shows how easy it is for teenagers to be targeted for sex or worse by convicted sex offenders who can easily fake their identities online and then arrange to meet them. Astonishingly, dozens of other young women were prepared to send explicit photos of themselves to the teenager’s killer – despite never having met him.

Chapman had met Ashleigh through Facebook on September 21, 2009, using the bogus photograph of a handsome boy in his late teens and a new identity, Peter Cartwright. Graham Reeds, QC, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court: ‘She was excited about meeting the person she thought was an attractive 19-year-old lad, who had a Facebook page showing his picture, and who had been sending her suggestive text messages. ‘However, what she did not know was that all of these text messages and the computer chat were from this defendant: A 32-year-old man who at the time was living out of the back of his car.’ They arranged to meet – with Chapman pretending to be ‘Peter’s dad’ to explain why he looked nothing like the photo – on October 25 last year.

Andrea and Mike Hall

Warning to other parents: Ashleigh Hall’s mother Andrea is comforted by her father Mike Hall outside Teesside Crown Court following Chapman’s conviction

I'm empty without her graphic

He drove her to a secluded area called Thorpe Larches near Sedgefield in County Durham.

Once there Chapman forced her to perform a sex act before he bound and gagged her with duct tape, wrapping so much around her head that she suffocated to death. He dumped her body in a ditch and drove off. After his arrest, Chapman was taken to Middlesbrough police station where he asked to see a detective and confessed: ‘I killed someone last night. I need to tell somebody from CID where the body is… It hasn’t been reported yet.’

Chapman had been in trouble since the age of 15. He was taking drugs, stealing and had been arrested for sex offences, although never convicted. In 1996, aged 19, he was accused of raping a girl he had befriended. The allegations were later dropped. In that same year, he was jailed for seven years for raping and robbing two prostitutes at knifepoint.

Ashleigh's body was discovered in a field near Sedgefield, County   Durham

Grim discovery: Ashleigh’s body was found in a field near Sedgefield, County Durham

Peter Chapman

Fatal journey: The Ford Mondeo car used by Peter Chapman in the rape and murder of the 17-year-old

He was released in November 2000 and supervised by the police and the probation service under Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). He moved to Liverpool where he was monitored every three months as a high risk offender. In 2002 he was arrested by Cheshire Police for the rape and kidnap of a prostitute in Ellesmere Port but the case was dropped. By June he had moved to Bristol where he was arrested for deception offences. In February 2003 he was arrested in Liverpool for the rape and kidnap of a prostitute. Again the case was dropped. Incredibly, because he kept out of trouble for the next three years, he was downgraded to medium-risk in 2007.

By early 2008 he no longer needed to report to his probation worker but was still being monitored by police under MAPPA every six months. Later that year, in September, when police visited his Liverpool home, they discovered he was no longer there. They tried to find him locally but failed. It was only a year later that they circulated his details nationally as a missing sex offender.


Peter Chapman

Serial rapist: Facebook killer Peter Chapman posed as a good-looking teenage boy

They are the ones that got away. Of Peter Chapman’s 127 designated Facebook friends, all were girls and each one a potential victim. They varied in ages but all had one thing in common: They believed he was a good-looking teenager with a body to match. Indeed, on the day he was arrested for Ashleigh’s murder, he was driving to meet yet another of the young women he had lured into his online lair. Incredibly, dozens of girls swapped sexually explicit comments and sent photographs of themselves posing in underwear or pyjamas with a man they had never met. They also replied to scores of intimate questionnaires.

By the time he murdered Ashleigh Hall, sex-obsessed Chapman was trawling the internet on a daily basis and was logged on to at least ten social networking sites looking for girls – young girls in particular. Each of his profiles was bogus and was complemented by fake photos.

He called himself Peter Cartwright, or DJPete, and said he was a 19-year-old from Stockton. It worked. On one site,, Chapman had 3,919 visitors. He described himself as single, 5ft 10in, with blue eyes and a ‘slim, toned’ body, a window maker whose interests were ‘cars, girls hehe’. Other social networking sites he joined as ‘Peter Cartwright’ included Netlog – on which alone he had 421 ‘friends’ – Holabox, Profileheaven and Kazoba. Each one could be a paedophile’s paradise. Netlog – formerly known as Facebox – has been implicated before in cases of children groomed by paedophiles. On one site, more than 14,600 visitors had clicked on his profile since the account was opened on New Year’s Day in 2007 and by now he had amassed a total of 2,981 friends.

Again, all of them were girls. Their ages ranged from 13 to 31, and they had nicknames such as ‘Baby Blonde’ and ‘Lil Minx’. After making contact with them he redirected them to private chatrooms.

‘Wanna have sex with me?’ began one quiz he wrote one lunchtime in May 2007. ‘Post this and see just how many people comment you saying that they wanna have sex with you.’ He had clearly done it before and with some success. This time 16 girls replied. To Ashleigh Hall and plenty of others like her nothing seemed out of place. After all they weren’t the only ones; he had thousands of friends.

But Peter Cartwright was not a 19-year-old labourer and he was not living in Stockton. His real name was Peter Chapman and he was a shaven-headed, bespectacled 33-year-old pervert and loner who was painfully thin, had ‘dreadful’ personal hygiene, had lost most of his teeth and was living in his car.

Last night, an extraordinary succession of victims came forward to tell their stories of how Chapman trapped them and those who knew him well and feared what he was capable of doing.

Peter Chapman's Netlog page

Trap: Chapman’s Netlog page lists his top ‘friends’

Peter Chapman's Netlog page

Bogus: He called himself djpete and claimed he was a young muscular man

Victoria Routledge, 20, said Chapman – who was the live-in partner of her then close friend Dyanne Littler – may have targeted many more women. She told the Daily Mail how she once found sickening images on his laptop of women being raped. ‘Dyanne was using their laptop,’ she said. ‘So I used his PC. He had told us all that only he was allowed to use it but he wasn’t there so I figured, “Why not? It’s not like he’s going to kill me”. I wanted to go on to Facebook but I clicked on a plain folder instead and inside it were pictures which were absolutely sick. My mouth went dry and I looked across at Dyanne who was busy on the net as well. ‘The pictures showed people being forced to have sex and were thoroughly revolting. I quickly closed the folder and left.’

He soon turned his attentions to Miss Routledge. She and two other women even posed for a photo with Chapman. Smiling blissfully for the camera, Miss Routledge had no idea that the man taking her picture was just weeks away from murdering Ashleigh Hall.

Chapman took this picture of Victoria Routledge, centre, and two   other women, just weeks before he murdered Ashleigh

Unaware: Chapman took this picture of Victoria Routledge, centre, and two other women, just weeks before he murdered Ashleigh

She said Chapman often borrowed her car for hours at a time, never revealing where he had gone or who he had seen. She said she had first met Chapman when Miss Littler invited her round for tea. ‘To say that I found him creepy was an understatement,’ she said. ‘But Dyanne was with him so I couldn’t speak my mind. They seemed to have a volatile relationship, always arguing, but they lived together so I figured there had to be some sort of connection. Dyanne had also had his baby. ‘In no time at all he started coming around my house. I think the first time that it happened something had gone wrong with my car. I mentioned it in passing to Dyanne and he was round there in a flash.

‘After a couple of weeks of meeting Peter he would come round and announce that he had to borrow my car. I felt slightly obligated to him because he had helped out with one or two mechanical problems. He would go off for a couple of hours and then come back without saying where he had been. It was always at night and if you asked him what he had been up to he would simply change the subject.’ By then Chapman’s violent urges were already beginning to show. ‘Dyanne started coming into work with marks on her face and arms,’ said Victoria. ‘When I asked her what it was she wouldn’t respond.’

Peter Chapman

‘I did it’: CCTV footage of Peter Chapman at the Custody desk at Middlesbrough Police Station, when he confessed to the killing

She also found herself having an increasing number of uncomfortably personal conversations with Chapman – in particular about his relationship with Miss Littler. She said: ‘He was always asking me if I had a boyfriend and when I had last had sex.’ Months before Chapman killed Ashleigh, the homeless drifter had begun talking to lonely single mother, Elise Anderson, 22.

Like Ashleigh, she chatted with him for hours online after meeting him on a social networking site. He was crude, but she was just glad to talk to somebody. Believing him to be a harmless 19-year-old, the pair exchanged hundreds of messages before he finally asked if she was interested in meeting up. But, unlike Ashleigh, she refused. ‘I can’t help thinking what might have happened if I had gone through with it and met up with him,’ she said yesterday. ‘Conversations with him on MSN were always crude. ‘I can remember asking where he lived but I can’t remember getting any replies. He would never reveal the specifics. He would just say he didn’t live that far from me so we could meet up. He then asked if I would consider it.’

Peter Chapman
Grubby interior: Inside the Ford Mondeo car used by Chapman in the killing of Ashleigh
Ashleigh Hall's coffin

Sad farewell: Ashleigh’s coffin is carried from St Cuthbert’s Church, Darlington, during her funeral

In reality, Chapman was in Liverpool while Miss Anderson was in Evesham, Worcestershire. Miss Anderson, a part-time student, said she first met Chapman on the networking site Netlog. Among other girls who also made contact with his alter ego was Alvina Betts, 20, of Whitehaven, Cumbria. She said: ‘He was nice looking and there didn’t seem to be anything dodgy about him. It makes me shudder to think of it.’

He also pestered and tried to seduce another woman who was the spitting image of his victim and former fiancee. He became obsessed with single mother Catherine Carty, 30, after meeting her on the internet. He bombarded her with sleazy messages through Facebook and MSN – and visited her house 100 times. Miss Carty, of Warrington, Cheshire, said: ‘I collapsed when I found out Chapman had been arrested. The girl looks like me and so does his ex-fiancee.’

Another woman, Emma Monk, told how just weeks earlier, Chapman set her house on fire after she allowed him to stay after meeting him through a friend on New Year’s Eve. ‘He phoned me out of the blue saying “are the kids with you?”,’ she said. ‘Then he told me the house was on fire. I couldn’t speak through shock. I rushed home and saw it all going up.’ Ms Monk, 31, of Newbury in Berkshire, said she gave police information about Chapman, including the car he was driving, but ‘they just didn’t seem interested’. ‘If police had pulled their finger out, Ashleigh might not have been murdered,’ she told The Mirror. ‘They knew he was missing and they knew he was a sex offender.’

No checks - Chapman graphic


For Chapman, a computer literate, it was an all too easy way of meeting young girls.

Peter Bradley, deputy director of children’s charity Kidscape, said: ‘This case highlights the absolute danger of assuming people’s identities on social networking sites. ‘It is very easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. There are people who will be prepared to assault or even commit murder.’

The Belgium-based Netlog claims to have 56 million users across Europe and to be the market leader in countries including Italy and Switzerland. A spokesman said: ‘We work with authorities across Europe to prevent people abusing our site, and we have moderators working around the clock who respond to reports of abuse. ‘But unfortunately there’s currently no way of 100 per cent confirming someone’s identity online.’