Saturday, February 25, 2017

iAngry about iMuslims

"Perhaps the most glaring illustration of the problem is when Bunt categorizes the communist, Shiite professor Asad Abukhalil, known as the Angry Arab, as part of the Islamic blogosphere (p. 173). Of course Abukhalil regularly comments on Islamic topics, but so do a large list of bloggers, hacks, and ordinary people on the Net. In fact, the Angry Arab is one of the most secular Arab blogs. Would Abukhalil mind being labeled an iMuslim? The term itself is  not convincing; it sounds a little too much like a different species. Could we for example imagine a book called iChristians, other than perhaps about very fundamentalist Christians online? By subsuming every phenomenon in Muslim contexts, or related to Islam, under an Islamic heading, we risk underwriting claims about Islam as the primary, sometimes the only valid, identity marker. The more interesting debate concerning mass media, perhaps, is how we as scholars can come to grips with contestations and intersections between revivalist Islam and secular modernity."