376 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 26 illus., 1 table, notes, index
Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks
Rewiring the House of Islam
Exploring the increasing impact of the Internet on Muslims around the world, this book sheds new light on the nature of contemporary Islamic discourse, identity, and community. The Internet has profoundly shaped how both Muslims and non-Muslims perceive Islam and how Islamic societies and networks are evolving and shifting in the twenty-first century, says Gary Bunt
The Internet has profoundly shaped how both Muslims and non-Muslims perceive Islam and how Islamic societies and networks are evolving and shifting in the twenty-first century, says Gary Bunt. While Islamic society has deep historical patterns of global exchange, the Internet has transformed how many Muslims practice the duties and rituals of Islam. A place of religious instruction may exist solely in the virtual world, for example, or a community may gather only online. Drawing on more than a decade of online research, Bunt shows how social-networking sites, blogs, and other "cyber-Islamic environments" have exposed Muslims to new influences outside the traditional spheres of Islamic knowledge and authority. Furthermore, the Internet has dramatically influenced forms of Islamic activism and radicalization, including jihad-oriented campaigns by networks such as al-Qaeda.
By surveying the broad spectrum of approaches used to present dimensions of Islamic social, spiritual, and political life on the Internet, iMuslims encourages diverse understandings of online Islam and of Islam generally.
"Bunt's perceptive study concludes that the Islamic 'brotherhood' is evolving into parallel brotherhoods. The net is a marketplace . . . in which there are many traders. And none has the monopoly on God's message to humankind."
--Times Literary Supplement
"Fascinating. . . . An excellent guide to the emergence of 'specific forms of online Islam'. . . . What is really new, as Bunt shows so powerfully, is the contribution of concerned and thinking Muslims, with no background in traditional education. This opening of Islamic knowledge to ordinary believers is a good development. . . . It will play a major part in rescuing Muslim societies from the current impasse."
--The Independent U.K.
"Bunt is the most prominent and prolific scholar of today's 'cyber-Islamic landscape.' His book offers an unmatched portrait of the myriad manifestations of digital Islam. With its broad scope and accessible style, it is well suited for use in both undergraduate and graduate courses on Islam. The book will also appeal to a wide audience interested in media studies, the anthropology of religion, and the dynamism of the 21st century Muslim world."
--Middle East Journal
"A near-encyclopedia of Islam online."
"Groundbreaking. . . . Provides a refreshing report on the world's contemporary Muslim community, and raises stimulating questions that will contribute to the ongoing discussion on the adaptability of religion in the computer age."
"[A] helpful survey of blogs and militaristic sites in the Middle East and beyond."
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