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Different Strokes: American Muslim Scholars Engage Media and Politics in the Woke Era

TitleDifferent Strokes: American Muslim Scholars Engage Media and Politics in the Woke Era
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLatif, J
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society
Date Published06/2021

American Muslim intercommunal disunity (fitnah) is exemplified by an emic event when an editorial foray contests the inherited legacies of black Muslim icons like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, which exigently compels “diplomats” of different minds into engaging the digital public square with calculated strokes. The woke era’s partisan identity politics asymmetrically curtail acceptable expressions of religious authority on issues of race, religion, and politics. Hence, scholars spend their social capital as political actors in these ultracrepidarian environments to different ends. This multi-year study conducted across global sites analyzes scholars with dissimilar approaches to media and political engagement amidst an environment characterized by weaponized media, polarization, and shifting goal posts. Participant observation and textual analysis impart scenes of scholars with fraught associations to administrations, funding sources, and feuding authoritarian Arab regimes getting embroiled in geopolitical hostilities. With mainstream American Muslim narratives aligned with mainstream media’s liberal filter bubbles, scholars impact consensus building with varying levels of success; those negotiating compromise within spheres of legitimate contestation and consensus ad interim maintain subsisting influence. However, those that do not are expurgated and thereby cede influence.