Digital Islam and the New Sheikhs


Technology and Religion.

Yet, and more significantly for our purposes, the video feud highlights a relationship between technology and religious authority, and indeed how changes in the former can serve to transform the latter. An early 20th Century Dawah Man certainly would not have been able to bypass traditional gatekeepers and speak directly to the masses at the scale enabled by the Internet. There are, of course, many precedents: from the printing presses that produced Martin Luther’s vernacular Bible to the local access channels that nurtured the Moral Majority; there is nothing static about the nature of religious authority. And while we often associate technological innovations with some form of democratization — as individuals gain the ability to access holy texts in an unmediated fashion, to do their own research, and to theoretically reach their own conclusions — this emancipatory narrative does not capture the complexity of these transformations.

The complete article

Suzanne Schneider — The Revealer

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