On February 21, 2012, five members of a Russian punk collective called Pussy Riot entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Singing “Mother of God, Chase Putin Out!,” and clad in brightly colored dresses, leggings, and balaclavas, the women danced, kneeled, and crossed themselves in front of the Cathedral’s high altar. Within less than a minute they were apprehended by security guards and removed from the sanctuary. On March 3rd, the day before the controversial re-election of Vladimir Putin, three members of the band were arrested. They were charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” And in August they were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.
Posts Tagged ‘social media’
Yesterday at The Lede, J. David Goodman reported on a Swedish “social media experiment” gone questionably awry.
Participation in online religious communities and practices (“liking” religious pages on Facebook, posting religious messages, and joining online religious communities) has become an increasingly widespread phenomenon. A recent “Room for Debate” in The New York Times discussed the pros and cons of religious life online.
While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue. The seeds of this spectacular mobilization had been sown as far back as the early 2000s and had been carefully cultivated by activists from across the political spectrum, many of these working online via Facebook, twitter, and within the Egyptian blogosphere. Working within these media, activists began to forge a new political language, one that cut across the institutional barriers that had until then polarized Egypt’s political terrain, between more Islamicly-oriented currents (most prominent among them, the Muslim Brotherhood) and secular-liberal ones.
The Guardian met up with A. S. Byatt, author of Possession, to talk about, well, a number of things. It is simply too brilliant to miss. Highlight: “Why can’t people just be quiet? [. . .] I’m sure it’s a religious matter. You only exist if you tell people you’re there.”
Diane Winston introduces the Israel-Palestine Project, a multimedia exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, composed by students in her USC Annenberg graduate journalism course on covering religion, politics, and gender. It aims to deepen the historical and sociological context in which the conflict is reported on in the U.S.
Julie Potler, in her Culture Watch column in Sojourners magazine, gives a Christian perspective on the religious use of social media. Christians, she observes, are among the earliest adopters of social media. Even the Pope recently called for clergy to take up blogging and other forms of digital communication. Potler, however, cautions against this enthusiasm by giving an analysis of the redefinition of privacy in the era of social media, where users, especially young users, find it normal to have more and more personal information available for potential public access on the Web.
The politicization of scholars, experts and media commentators post 9/11 has created a minefield for policymakers and the general public. Many are caught between the contending positions of seemingly qualified experts as well as a new cadre of Islamophobic authors and their revisionist readings of Islam and Islamic history. Today, we now have a new empirically grounded tool that enables us to go beyond the limited interpretations and opinions of experts when asking: What do Muslims think, what do they care about, and what do they want? [...]