"The 'Allah Algorithm': Interpreting Islamic Influencers' Online Responses to Covid-19"

with Gary R. Bunt (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT
Zoom Virtual Event

Book Cover for Hashtag IslamIn his presentation, Dr. Bunt will explore the impact of online Islamic pronouncements in the light of Covid-19, including how organisations and platforms respond in the light of continually shifting religious and media contexts.   This relates to wider discussions on the contestation on issues of representation and religious authority in cyber Islamic environments. In an era where authority networks transcend geographical boundaries, and when digital proficiency can be more important than religious status, there has been an evolution of notions of authority and leadership. Dr. Bunt will identify how digital technology has shaped how Muslims across vast territories relate to religious authorities in fulfilling spiritual, mystical and legalistic agendas. The Covid-19 situation has highlighted how millennials and digital natives respond more in some cases to aspects of online authority than ‘analogue’ equivalents, impacting on everyday concepts of religious knowledge and identity. Diverse religious perspectives contest for audiences, reflecting on multimedia approaches from a variety of players. Dr. Bunt will open up the question of whether responses to Covid-19 represent a turning point for Islam and Muslims on the Internet. 

Gary R. Bunt’s research focuses on Islam, Muslims and the Internet.  His most recent book is ‘Hashtag Islam: How Cyber-Islamic Environments Are Transforming Religious Authority’ (University of North Carolina Press, 2018). He is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  More information: virtuallyislamic.com


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