Anonymous, 16 Jul 2020
Research on Middle East, Islam and digital media

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).

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.

US-based Islamist Network: Presence in Cyberspace and Online Projects

The purpose behind this paper is to explore how the organizations and individuals affiliated with the Islamic movement (Haraka Islamiyya i.e., Islamism/ political Islam) in the U.S. make use of electronic media as part of a broader “soft dawah” strategy, to promote their interpretation of Islam and to attain political goals. It covers the web presence of major Islamist organizations based in the U.S.

A study of selected Islamic Internet Sites in East Africa

Islam is making increasing use of the Internet to propagate ideas and to inform followers as well as to attract non-adherents. The paper examines selected Islamic Internet sites whose content is oriented for East Africa. Initial expectations had been that many Internet sites would be ‘home-grown’, however it became apparent that most Internet sites have been set-up and are operated by the Muslim Diaspora. The paper examines four sites from Kenya and Tanzania looking at the content and approaches used by these sites. The failure of the diaspora to maintain sites is explored. Some tentative suggestions are made as to why Islamic Internet Sites have yet to be a successful in East Africa.

Representation and Self-Representation: Arabs and Muslims in Digital Games

This paper presents the ways in which Muslims and Arabs are represented in mainstream European and American digital games. It analyzes how games — particularly of the action genre — construct the Arab or Muslim ‘Other.’ The second part of the paper deals with selected digital games created in the Middle East, whose authors are knowingly working with the topic of self-representation.

The Internet and the Construction of Islamic Knowledge in Europe

The European Muslim communities live in a legal and political framework where the Islamic law is usually not recognized as a legitimate source of law and thus is not applied by the state authorities. Within this new paradigm established ‘traditional’ authorities operate in coexistence with Internet based muftis, online fatwa databases and individual Islamic blogs. This paper examines how, and if ever, the Internet Islamic sites after several years of operation change the process of decision making and construction of Islamic knowledge in Europe.
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