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Islam, Community and the Internet: New possibilities in the digital age

TitleIslam, Community and the Internet: New possibilities in the digital age
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsWheeler, D

This essay uses three examples of Muslim cyberpractices as a means for understanding how the Internet enables the formation, maintenance, and management of certain kinds of Islamic communities. First is the case of the al-Qaeda movement and its critics. Case two is an Ask the Imam web site, where postings on cyberdating are analyzed as a means to define proper Muslim behavior in cyberspace. The third case is the web site and the controversies surrounding it. It has been said that the Internet is producing a kind of Muslim Renaissance similar in scope and effect to the flowering of Islamic science, learning, and community values during the Abbassid period many centuries earlier. As this analysis illustrates, the kinds of changes in Muslim community enabled by the Internet are fundamentally altering the values and practices defined by Muslims in the Medieval period, especially in terms of the construction of authority.