Muslims and the New Information and Communication Technologies: Notes from an Emerging and Infinite Field – An Introduction

  • Thomas HoffmannEmail author
  • Göran LarssonEmail author
Part of the Muslims in Global Societies Series book series (MGSS, volume 7)


“Islam is the message!” “The medium is the message!” These two mottos – the former deriving from the modern Islamist camp, the latter from Marshall McLuhan’s classic work Understanding Media – seem as pertinent as ever in the new millennium (McLuhan 1964). As sociologist of religion Lorne L. Dawson puts it in his comment on McLuhan’s motto, “[m]edia are not neutral or passive conduits for the transfer of information. They mold the message in ways that crucially influence the world views we construct. They adjust our self-conceptions, notions of human relations and community, and the nature of reality itself” (Lorne 2004, 385). Hence, if we add ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ to medium, we begin to realize the far-reaching and profound implications of this religious add-on, not only for the academic study of Islam but also for the believers, the Muslims and their communities. Furthermore, we should take into consideration the observation already put forth in mid-1990s that, so Dale F. Eickelman and Jon W. Anderson, “[i]ncreasingly […] large numbers of Muslims explain their goals in terms of the normative language of Islam” (Eickelman 2003, 7). Given that this proliferation is facilitated and moulded to a high degree by New Information and Communication Technology (henceforth ICT), we begin to grasp the relevance of an Islam & Muslim-orientated approach. Various definitions of the term ICT exist, some of which are highly technical, but for our present purposes we use it as the wider term for any communication device or application, which comprises access, transmission, storage, and manipulation of information. Different from what could be called classical ICT, such as books and newspapers, New ICT is characterized by a high degree of digitalization as well as convergence of data-, tele- and mass communication, the latter not necessarily restricted to conventional mass media like TV (stations) or film (industry) but extending into various so-called social media.


Middle East Intelligence Service Islamic World Majority Nation Islamic Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Alsanea, Rajaa. 2005/2008. Girls of Riyadh. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  2. Alterman, Jon B. 1998. New media, new politics? From satellite television to the internet in the Arab world. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Accessed 22 Mar 2013.
  3. Anderson, Jon W. 2008. Convergence, next phase of the information revolution. NMIT working papers. Working papers on New Media & Information Technology in the Middle East.
  4. Baudrillard, Jean. 1983. Simulations. New York: Semiotext[e].Google Scholar
  5. Baudrillard, Jean. 1995. The Gulf war did not take place. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. (orig. pub. 1991.)Google Scholar
  6. Bunt, Gary. 2009. iMuslims: Rewiring the house of Islam. London: Hurst & Co.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, Erik. 1993. Techgnosis: Myth, magic and mysticism in the age of information. London: Serpent’s Tail.Google Scholar
  8. Dawson, Lorne L. 2004. Religion and the internet: Presence, problems, and prospects. In New approaches to the study of religion. Vol. 1. Regional, critical, and historical approaches, ed. Peter Antes, Armin W. Geertz, and Randi R. Warne, 386–405. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  9. Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1996. A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. London: Athlone Press. (orig. pub. 1982.)Google Scholar
  10. Eickelman, Dale F. 1999. Communication and control in the Middle East: Publication and its discontents. In New media in the Muslim world, ed. Dale F. Eickelman and Jon W. Anderson, 33–44. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Eickelman, Dale F., and Jon W. Anderson. 2003. Redefining Muslim publics. In New media in the Muslim world, ed. Dale F. Eickelman and Jon W. Anderson, 1–13. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gauntlet, David, and Ross Horsley. 2004. Web.Studies. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  13. Giddens, Anthony. 1990. The consequences of modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hoover, S. 2001. Religion, media, and the cultural center of gravity. In Religion and popular culture: Studies on the interaction of worldviews, ed. D.A. Stour and J.M. Buddenbaum, 49–60. Ames: Iowa State University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Howard, Philip N. 2010. The digital origins of dictatorship and democracy: Information technology and political Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Larsson, Göran (ed.). 2006. Religious communities on the internet. Uppsala: Swedish Science Press.Google Scholar
  17. Larsson, Göran. 2007. Cyber-Islamophobia? The case of Wikiislam. Contemporary Islam 1(1): 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Larsson, Göran. 2011. Muslims and the new media: Historical and contemporary debates. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  19. Lynch, Marc. 2006. Voices of the new Arab public: Iraq, Al-Jazeera, and Middle East politics today. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Lynch, Gordon. 2010. Religion, media and cultures of everyday life. In The Routledge companion to the study of religion, ed. John Hinnells, 543–557. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Lyon, David. 2007. Surveillance studies: An overview. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  22. McLuhan, Marshall. 1964. Understanding media: The extensions of man. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  23. Mellor, Noha, et al. (eds.). 2011. Arab media. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Nawawy, Mohammed El-, and Sahar Khamis. 2012. Political activism 2.0: Comparing the role of social media in Egypt’s “Facebook Revolution” and Iran’s “Twitter Uprising”. CyberOrient. Online Journal of the Virtual Middle East 6, Iss. Accessed 22 Mar 2013.
  25. Norton, Augustus Richard. 1999. The new media, civic pluralism, and the struggle for political reform. In New media in the Muslim world, ed. Dale F. Eickelman and Jon W. Anderson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Ramsay, Gail. 2007. Speaking up with Yahoo: An Arabic e-mail novel. In Studia Semitica Upsaliensia, vol. 23, ed. Bo. Isaksson, Mats Ekshult, and Gail Ramsay, 179–190. Uppsala: Uppsala University.Google Scholar
  27. Rugh, William. 2004. Arab mass media: Newspapers, radio, and television in Arab politics. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  28. Seib, Philip. 2007. New media and prospects for democratization. In New media and the new Middle East, ed. Philip Seib, 1–18. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Silverstein, Adam. 2007. Postal systems in the pre-modern Islamic world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stout, Daniel A., and Judith Buddenbaum. 2002. Genealogy of an emerging field: Foundations for the study of media and religion. Journal of Media and Religion 1: 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Varisco, Daniel. 2011. Climbing the virtual Minbar of cyberspace. Review of the Middle East Studies 45(2): 182–191.Google Scholar
  32. Virilio, Paul. 1980. The aesthetics of disappearance. Los Angeles: Semiotext[e].Google Scholar
  33. Webster, Frank. 2002. Theories of the information society. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Wheeler, Deborah L. 2008. Working around the state. Internet use and political identity in the Arab world. In Routledge handbook on internet politics, ed. Andrew Chadwick. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Theology, Section for Biblical ExegesisUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Literature, History of Idea, and ReligionUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden

Personalised recommendations