iMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
    • Publication Date:
    • Original Material:
      376 p.
    • Abstract:
      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. 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.
    • Contents Note:
      Front Matterp.iTable of Contentsp.viiAcknowledgmentsp.xiNote on Transliterationp.xiiiIntroduction.: iMuslims and Cyber-Islamic Environmentsp.1The Internet has a profound contemporary impact on how Muslims perceive Islam and how Islamic societies and networks are evolving and shifting in the twenty-first century. While these electronic interfaces appear new and innovative in terms of how the media is applied, much of their content has a basis in classical Islamic concepts. These link into traditional Muslim networks with a historical resonance that can be traced back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. iMuslims explores how these transformations and influences play out in diverse cyber-Islamic environments and how they are responding to shifts in technology and society. My[1] - Locating Islam in Cyberspacep.7There is a sense of specific Islamic identity associated with aspects of cyberspace. These may be intentionally designed Muslim-only zones or generic areas of the Web with an Islamic footprint. One might compare the difference between Muslim content on the social networking site MySpace and the general content on the Islamic equivalent MuslimSpace. Islamic-Tube and IslamicTorrents offer video sharing and distribution modeled on non-Islamic equivalents.¹ Does this sense of separateness influence how people who are not Muslim approach CIES? As with other zones of special interest on the Web, some areas of CIES are clearly more open than others. It[2] - Accessing Cyber-Islamic Environmentsp.55This chapter provides an overview of issues associated with how CIES are accessed. The “digital divide” is a critical issue, as the absence of Internet access has been interpreted as being part of the “problems” of some Muslim societies. This opinion often neglects consideration of the economic, cultural, social, and religious factors behind that issue, or indeed any appropriate solutions. When approaching the subject, applying a statistical analysis of Muslim usage becomes problematic. Alongside factors that include the absence of telecommunications infrastructures and the relatively high cost of computers, literacy issues and cultural constraints have inhibited growth in ICT, and[3] - Decoding the Sacred: Islamic Source Codep.77The source code for CIES relates to the essential beliefs and values articulated in the name of Islam. In order to interpret the factors, which drive the multifaceted dialogues and interactions, it is important to explore the aspects of sacred phenomena associated with Islam and Muslim beliefs as represented online. This element of CIES has a profound impact on forms of networking and collaboration. The Internet may offer a personal and dynamic religious space for iMuslims. They can network, share experiences, and feel a sense of community with others occupying the same virtual space. The combination of these elements into[4] - The Islamic Blogospherep.131Blogs have become critical adjuncts to the Islamic knowledge economy. This chapter shows how they draw upon many facets associated with Web 2.0 to open up a dynamic space for iMuslims to participate in online collaboration and forms of information gathering and exchange. The discussion provides an overview of the Islamic blogosphere, showing many of its significant nodes and hubs. This is identified as a key area relating to Islamic and Muslim discourse online, and it also provides a sense of how further developments in Web 2.0 social-networking tools might impact on cyber-Islamic environments. Awareness of the significance of blogs[5] - The Cutting Edge: Militaristic Jihad in Cyberspacep.177This chapter focuses on the militaristic connotations associated with jihad and their articulation online. The term “jihad” has entered Islamic and other discourse with a set of expectations and assumptions, being synonymous in certain areas of CIES with warfare and associated endeavors. These assumptions are themselves interesting. The image of militaristic jihad attracts controversy and generates excitement among readers in ways that surpass the many more sedate and spiritually oriented areas of the Web that focus on the greater jihad. Developers in Silicon Valley have played an involuntary but critical role in propagating jihad—in many ways as significant as the[6] - Digital Jihadi Battlefields: Iraq and Palestinep.243The Internet has been applied by diverse jihadi platforms relating to conflicts in Iraq and Palestine. There is some continuity between this chapter and the previous one, perhaps demonstrating the interaction between the global and the local. Considerations relating to whether activities can be defined as Islamic, jihadi, insurgent, terrorist, Iraqi, Palestinian, or Arabic—or some combination of these descriptors—naturally apply, depending on the individual perspective of the observer. As with the previous chapter, the term “jihadi” is applied here with caution to incorporate a broad range of perspectives, actions, and discourses. It is not the purpose of this chapter toConclusion.: The Transformation of Cyber-Islamic Environmentsp.275iMuslims demonstrates what happens when two of the dominant elements shaping life in the twenty-first century, Islam and the Internet, combine. Whether the combination of elements results in an explosion or simply gentle ripples is open to debate. The sequencing of such a broad range of variables cannot be generalized, but some basic patterns have emerged within the evolving Islamic Internet. The effects are not necessarily one-way, as iMuslim activities have influenced generic forms of Internet activities and acted as a microcosm for the potential of information technology as a transforming medium for networks and societies. The innovative application ofGlossary of Key Islamic Termsp.291Notesp.295Indexp.349
    • Accession Number:
    • ISBN:
    • Online Access:
    • Rights:
      The University of North Carolina Press, 2009
    • Accession Number:
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      BUNT, G. R. iMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8078-5966-7. Disponível em: Acesso em: 21 out. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Bunt GR. IMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. The University of North Carolina Press; 2009. Accessed October 21, 2020.
    • APA:
      Bunt, G. R. (2009). iMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. The University of North Carolina Press.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Bunt, Gary R. 2009. IMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
    • Harvard:
      Bunt, G. R. (2009) iMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. Available at: (Accessed: 21 October 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Bunt, GR 2009, iMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, viewed 21 October 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Bunt, Gary R. IMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. The University of North Carolina Press, 2009. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Bunt, Gary R. IMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Bunt GR. iMuslims : Rewiring the House of Islam [Internet]. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press; 2009 [cited 2020 Oct 21]. Available from:


PW Reviews 2009 April #2

University of Wales lecturer Bunt is an authority on Islam on the Internet, having exhaustively researched the presence and practice of the faith on the Internet for two other books besides this one, the latest in the UNC Press's Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks series. Bunt states from the outset that a practice of Islam, distinct from Islam lived in real life, has already emerged online, with Muslims sometimes identifying more with a Web site than a particular mosque or formal sect. Those who espouse their Muslim values online, the "iMuslims" of the title, are not just jihadis sharing bomb-making instructions but also hajjis (pilgrims) and other bloggers. Blogs allow these iMuslims to delve deeply into theological and societal issues not otherwise addressed. Bunt further theorizes that Muslims have an "open-source" educational legacy. This open-source nature of Islamic theology inclines Muslims, possible more than other faith adherents, towards an online "rewiring" of their faith. Though stopping short of analyzing the theological implications of such developments as Muslim dating Web sites, iMuslims is a near-encyclopedia of Islam online. (May 15)

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