Advertisement

“Cyber Ummah:” The Internet and Muslim Communities

  • Sahar Khamis
Living reference work entry

Abstract

This chapter unpacks the complexity of the concept of “cyber ummah” and its numerous religious, social, and cultural implications on modern Muslim communities. It starts by defining the concept of “ummah,” in general, and the notion of “cyber ummah,” in particular. In doing so, it tackles the contemporary currents which gave birth to the concept of “cyber ummah” or “virtual ummah,” as it manifests itself in cyberspace today in the form of a “transnational” and “digital” Muslim community, within the international, global sphere (El Nawawy and Khamis 2009). It then moves on to shed light on the numerous implications of the multifaceted, dynamic, and complex notion of the “cyber ummah” on modern Muslim communities in three distinctive, yet overlapping and intertwined, realms, namely: the religious, social, and cultural spheres. In discussing the religious realm, the chapter tackles important issues, such as the mechanisms of redefining religious authority and religious expertise in the age of the Internet. In discussing the social realm, it sheds light on the potential of new modes of communication, in terms of redefining social relationships, as well as contributing to a number of gender-related issues, such as the rise of the phenomenon of “Islamic feminism.” In the cultural realm, the chapter touches upon the significant growth in the number of Muslims living in the diaspora, and how the Internet plays a number of crucial roles, in terms of redefining their relationships with both their homelands, on one hand, as well as their new societies, on the other hand, simultaneously. Finally, the chapter concludes by summing up some of the most significant opportunities and challenges, which the introduction of the Internet poses in Muslim societies today, and how they can contribute to re-envisioning the complex notion of the “cyber ummah.”

References

  1. Bohman, J. (2004). Expanding dialogue: The internet, the public sphere and prospects for transnational democracy. In N. Crossley & J. M. Roberts (Eds.), After Habermas: New perspectives on the public sphere (pp. 131–155). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Bunt, G. R. (2000a, November). The Islamic Internet souq. Q-News, No. 325. Available at: http://www.cie.ugent.be/bunt2.htm
  3. Bunt, G. R. (2000b). Virtually Islamic: Computer-mediated communication and cyber Islamic environments. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bunt, G. R. (2003). Islam in the digital age: E-Jihad, online fatwas and cyber Islamic environments. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  5. Caeiro, A. (2003). Debating fatwas in the cyberspace: The construction of Islamic authority in four francophone Muslim internet forums. Sacred media — Transforming traditions in the interplay of religion and the media, August, 7, 2003 Available at: http://www.sacredmedia.jyu.fi/mainpage.php#caeiroGoogle Scholar
  6. Cesari, J. (2004). When Islam and democracy meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Daniels, J. (2009). Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, gender and embodiment. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 37(1 and 2), 101–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dartnell, M. (2005). Communicative practice and transgressive global politics. First Monday, 10(7). Available at: http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1256/1176
  9. Diminescu, D. (2008). The connected migrant: An epistemological manifesto. Social Science Information, 47(4), 565–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diminescu, D. (2012). E-diasporas atlas: Exploration and cartography of diasporas on digital networks. Paris: Editions de la FMSH. Available at: http://www.e-diasporas.frGoogle Scholar
  11. Eickelman, D. F., & Anderson, J. W. (2003). Redefining Muslim publics. In D. F. Eickelman & J. W. Anderson (Eds.), New Media in the Muslim World: The emerging public sphere (2nd ed., pp. 1–18). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  12. El Nawawy, M., & Khamis, S. (2009). Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic discourses in cyberspace. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. El Nawawy, M., & Khamis, S. (2013). Egyptian revolution 2.0: Political blogging, civic engagement and citizen journalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ElTantawy, N., & Wiest, J. B. (2011). Social media in the Egyptian revolution: Reconsidering resource mobilization theory. International Journal of Communication, 5, 1207–1224.Google Scholar
  15. Gajjala, R. (2003). South Asian digital diasporas and cyberfeminist webs: Negotiating globalization, nation, gender and information technology design. Contemporary South Asia, 12(1), 41–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gallup. (2011). Islamophobia: Understanding anti-Muslim sentiment in the West. Available at: http://news.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx
  17. Gottschalk, P., & Greenberg, G. (2008). Islamophobia: Making Muslims the enemy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  18. Hirschkind, C. (2001). Civic virtue and religious reason: An Islamic counterpublic. Cultural Anthropology, 16(1), 3–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Howard, P. N. (2011). The digital origins of dictatorship and democracy: Information technology and political Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Karim, K. H. (2003). Mapping diasporic meidasacpes. In K. H. Karim (Ed.), The Media of Diaspora (pp. 1–17). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Khamis, S. (2010). Islamic feminism in new Arab media: Platforms for self-expression and sites for multiple resistances. Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research, 3(3), 237–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Khamis, S. (2017). The internet and new communication dynamics among diasporic Muslims: Opportunities, challenges and paradoxes. In M. R. Kayikci & L. D’Haenens (Eds.), European Muslims and new media (pp. 35–52). Leuven: Leuven University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Khamis, S., & Šisler, V. (2010). The new Arab ‘Cyberscape’: Redefining boundaries and reconstructing public spheres. Communication Yearbook, 34, 277–316.Google Scholar
  24. Khazen, J. (1999). Censorship and state control of the press in the Arab world. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 4, 87–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Landzelius, K. (2006). Native on the net: Indigenous and diasporic peoples in the virtual age. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Mandaville, P. (1999, March 2). Digital Islam: Changing the boundaries of religious knowledge? International Institute for the Study of Islam in the modern world, Newsletter, pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
  27. Mandaville, P. (2001). Transnational Muslim politics: Reimagining the Umma. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Mandaville, P. (2002). Reimagining the Umma? Information technology and the changing boundaries of political Islam. In A. Mohammadi (Ed.), Islam Encountering Globalization (pp. 61–90). London: Routledge/Curzon.Google Scholar
  29. Mandaville, P. (2003). Communication and diasporic Islam: A virtual Ummah? In K. Karim (Ed.), The Media of Diaspora (pp. 135–147). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Mandaville, P. (2007). Global political Islam. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Mariani, E. (2006). The role of states and markets in the production of Islamic knowledge on-line: The examples of Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Amru Khaled. In G. Larsson (Ed.), Religious communities on the Internet (pp. 131–149). Uppsala: Swedish Science Press.Google Scholar
  32. Mernissi, F. (2006). Digital Scheherazades in the Arab world. Current History, 105(689), 121–126.Google Scholar
  33. Mitra, A. (1997). Virtual commonality: Looking for India on the internet. In S. Jones (Ed.), Virtual culture: Identity and communication in Cybersociety (pp. 55–79). New York: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Muhlberger, P. (2004). Access, skill, and motivation in online political discussion: Testing cyberrealism. In P. Shane (Ed.), Democracy online: The prospects for political renewal through the internet (pp. 225–237). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Nemr, C. (2015, July 14). Countering Islamic state recruitment: You’re doing it totally wrong. War on the Rocks. Texas National Security Network: University of Texas. Available at: https://warontherocks.com/2015/07/countering-islamic-state-recruitment-youre-doing-it-totally-wrong/
  36. Nemr, C. (2016, March 15). Strategies to Counter Terrorist Narratives are More Confused than Ever. War on the Rocks. Texas National Security Network: University of Texas. Available at: https://warontherocks.com/2016/03/strategies-to-counter-terrorist-narratives-are-more-confused-than-ever/
  37. Norton, A. R. (2003). The new media, civic pluralism and the slowly retreating state. In D. Eickelman & J. Anderson (Eds.), New Media in the Muslim World: The emerging public sphere (pp. 19–28). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Poole, E. (2002). Networking Islam: The democratizing potential of new technologies in relation to Muslim communities. Diasporic Communication, 9(1), 51–64.Google Scholar
  39. Samin, N. (2008). Dynamics of internet use: Saudi youth, religious minorities and tribal communities. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 1(2), 197–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seib, P. (2004). The news media and the clash of civilizations. Parameters: US Army War College, 34, 71–85.Google Scholar
  41. Seib, P. (2007). New media and prospects for democratization. In P. Seib (Ed.), New media and the new Middle East (pp. 1–17). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Šisler, V. (2007). The internet and the construction of Islamic knowledge in Europe. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology, 1(2), 205–217.Google Scholar
  43. Šisler, V. (2009). European courts’ authority contested? The case of marriage and divorce fatwas on-line. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology, 3(1).Google Scholar
  44. Talbot, D. (2015, September 30). Fighting ISIS online. MIT Technology Review. Available at: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/541801/fighting-isis-online/
  45. Thompson, J. (1995). The media and modernity: A social theory of the media. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Tyrer, D. (2003). The politics of islamophobia: Race, power and fantasy. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  47. Wheeler, D. L. (2008). Empowerment zones? Women, internet cafés, and life transformations in Egypt. Information Technologies and International Development, 4(2), 89–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations