Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The challenges toward Islamic authority on cyberspace

I am writing a draft of paper to be discussed tomorrow (Thursday) in a workshop held at UKM. The purpose of the workshop is to train the new researcher in publishing their paper at journal listed in Scopus.

The title of the paper is “The challenges toward Islamic authority on cyberspace”.

Here the introduction of the paper.

The emerging of the internet as a medium of communication is claimed to affect the authority in the interpretation of Islam. The western scholars (Eickelman & Anderson, 1997; Eickelman & Anderson, 2003; Anderson, 2003; Mandaville, 2003), argue that the communication technology will break the intellectual monopolies in Islamic tradition because of the computer-mediated communication (CMC) open the religion for all netters. The interpretation is not longer exclusively for those having background in Islamic studies. It has been supported by Robinson in his analysis of the effect of printing on the Islamic world. He contends that “Increasingly from now on any Ahmad, Mahmud or Muhammad could claim to speak for Islam” (Robinson, 1993:245). He concludes that Islamic world trail so far behind the Christian in adopting printing because of fearing of the detriment of the authority.

Besides, recent studies demonstrate that the Internet is liable for both affirming the authority as well as questioning the authority of each online religion. The decline of religious authority on cyberspace has been highlighted by Barzali-Nahon & Barzali (2005) who investigate the challenge of religion online to ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel. Their studies have offered “cultured technology” as a conceptual lens to comprehend how religious fundamentalists adapt the internet to communicate among them, and how technology has influenced the different religious communities. In Barker’s (2005) studies on new religious movement (NRMs), he argued that the authority is undermining by processes facilitated by internet. In light of that, the technology either communication or printing has negatively affected Islam, meant that Islam is not compatible with the era of advancement of development in science and technology. The question remains, nevertheless, does the embracing the ICT that offer the exclusive and instant communication cause to the detriment of Islamic authority? This paper is intended to address this question ..

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