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24.10.2020 | Ausgabe 3/2020

Contemporary Islam 3/2020

Khaled Abou El Fadl and Amina Wadud’s (re)politicisation of the mosque and employment of social media as a means of shaping religious identity based on values of progressive Islam

Zeitschrift:
Contemporary Islam > Ausgabe 3/2020
Autor:
Sofia Tsourlaki
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11562-020-00453-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

This paper explores the employment of social media and Islamic religious sermons, as a means of dissemination of progressive Islam, in the process of shaping the religious identities of Muslims in the twenty-first century. This research is a case study that focusses on Khaled Abou El Fadl, a prominent progressive Muslim scholar, and his political activism in the mosque in the form of khutbahs (sermons). The presentation of the importance and development of the mosque from solely a place of worship to a place of political mobilisation creates a historical framework necessary for the understanding and evaluation of the case study. Amina Wadud’s activism in the mosque, and the way this activism is presented on the social media, is used as a means of comparison of the effectiveness of both scholars’ efforts. Given that the main channels of communication for both these scholars are social media, the paper presents the main points of the way the internet has affected notions of authority and knowledge in Islam in the twenty-first century C.E. The existing literature regarding Islam and social media focuses heavily on radicalisation and promotion of conservative Islam. There is an absence of scholarly work regarding social media and progressive Islam, and this article attempts to fill this gap in academia. The research included in this article was carried out in London, between June and September 2019, and is based on heterogeneous sources available online, such as newspaper and journal articles, audio-visual material, social media content and academic publications. It presents and analyses the media content and evolution of the said khutbahs as recorded and published on YouTube. It also evaluates their impact on the target audience through observation of the comments available on YouTube and Abou El Fadl’s relevant references in the videos.

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