Anonymous, 11 Dec 2018
Research on Middle East, Islam and digital media
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Second Life and The Sacred: Islamic Space in a Virtual World

Islamic religious spaces are present in the multi-user virtual environment Second Life. Because they are designed after emotionally-charged real life sacred sites, such as Mecca, and because their designers instruct users to follow behavioral regulations typical of real life Islamic sacred spaces, the virtual spaces are interpreted as ambiguously sacred. This paper examines this phenomenon, utilizing the theories of Ken Hillis to explain how characteristics of virtuality, combined with the factors listed above, have led to this ambiguity. As ‘the virtual’ contains such ambiguously sacred sites as Mecca (though not as sacred as the geographical location in the Hijaz), theorists of religion should consider virtually-mediated experiences as one form of contact with ‘the sacred.’

Digital Arabs: Representation in Video Games

This article presents the ways in which Muslims and Arabs are represented and represent themselves in video games. First, it analyses how various genres of European and American video games have constructed the Arab or Muslim Other. Within these games, it demonstrates how the diverse ethnic and religious identities of the Islamic world have been flattened out and reconstructed into a series of social typologies operating within a broader framework of terrorism and hostility. It then contrasts these broader trends in western digital representation with selected video games produced in the Arab world, whose authors have knowingly subverted and refashioned these stereotypes in two unique and quite different fashions. In conclusion, it considers the significance of western attempts to transcend simplified patterns of representation that have dominated the video game industry by offering what are known as 'serious' games.

Exploring the Religious Frameworks of the Digital Realm: Offline-Online-Offline Transfers of Ritual Performance

Looking at the constantly growing field of religion online, the shifts in and the new definition of religious frameworks become an increasingly important topic. In the field of religious rituals, it is not only the participant, location and conduction of the ritual that is affected by this shift; also the researchers have to overthrow their former theologically resp. systemic based definition of religiousness and spirituality due to the fact that on the Internet, religion is defined and realized in a completely different way by its participants.

Cyber-rituals in Virtual Worlds: Wedding Online in Second Life

Virtual Worlds offer a new environment to meet, communicate and perform rituals in a virtual reality. The most prominent example for such worlds that have existed since 1998 is the privately-owned, subscription-based 3D application Second Life. The users are both socially and religiously very active and consequently transfer real-life activities and therefore also rituals into virtual space. With the shift of technical boundaries former seeminlgy fixed religious and ritual frameworks will be modified and transformed. Different wedding rituals designed and performed in Second Life, for example, show the possibility to identify processes of ritual transfer and of ritual patchworking.

Rituals Online - Dynamic Processes Reflecting Individual Perspectives

Today a wide range of religious rituals is crossing the border from the offline to the online realm. On webpages containing Rituals Online, a wide range of highly complex transfer and design processes take place which affect the planning and accomplishment of religiousness and religious performance on the Internet. Besides tracing the different patterns and structures of these processes, one also has to think about the new theoretical and methodological challenges the researchers in Religious Studies are confronted with since the Internet offers a new field for academic study.

Encountering the Orient/Islam: Re-reading Cyber-Narratival Heteronormativity

This paper examines how heteronormativity operates as a mechanism of representation in cyber-narratives. It insinuates that post-structural analyses should be further appropriated in understanding cyberspace as a realm of power/discipline. This paper re-reads cyberspace as a heteronormative realm imbricating “sexuality” and “race” (as technologies), and regularly re-presenting the normal/abnormal, white/brown, man/woman as unproblematic, fixed categories. Michel Foucault and Judith Butler have examined how visual objectivity of the body itself are processes of control/discipline. This paper is an endeavour towards adapting such genealogies to cyberspace.

The Sikh Diaspora in Cyberspace: The Representation of Khalistan on the World Wide Web and its Legal Context

The Sikh community in India is a minority based on a religion that combines aspects of Hinduism and Islam. Since the end of the 1970’s, an increasing number of Sikhs have been requestinging their own independent state: Khalistan. This paper discusses the role that cyberspace played in the unification of the message of the Sikh separatist movement and the changing character of its website representation. It also examines the evolution of India’s legal framework for information technology for protecting The Republic when the sovereignty and security of the state in cyberspace is disturbed.

GSM Technology and its Use in Religious Life: a Preliminary Inquiry

GSM technology with all its highly interactive services and tools is closely related to the Internet and its growth in last few years has been enormous. It allows viewing the GSM communication space as the new terrain of scientific research. This study examines the way in which religious groups as well as the individuals use the GSM technology (including the service of SMS and MMS).

Muslim Swim Wear Fashion at Amman Waves on the Internet and Live

When viewed on the internet, the waterslides and pools at Amman Waves look deserted, but when paying a visit they are filled with children, women and men in various kinds of swim wear. At Amman Waves women’s swim wear fashion ranges from small bikinis to swim-suits that cover every part of a woman’s body except the face, hands and feet. In this article these differences in covering are discussed and categorized in relation to Islamic law. It is argued that this variation in swim wear also has relevance for European societies since it shows possibilities for negotiations (agreement) between traditional Islamic ideals and ideals in modern Western societies.
CyberOrient

The Islamic Concept of Meeting Place and its Application in E-Commerce

The emerging electronic market has given rise to many legal issues; one of the major themes is online contracting or the ‘electronic contract’. Islam has provided its followers with general guidelines, although the door is left open for market activities to be ruled on according to what the most suitable and beneficial approach would be. However, in the case of electronic commerce there remains a need for further examination by Muslim jurists and appropriate Islamic rules are required for the development of this new phenomenon. The focus in this paper is the Islamic concept of parties’ ‘sitting place’ of transactions nad its application in e-commerce.
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