Social Media, Religion in the New Arab World
Religion. It is not the paradigm through which people ought to explain everything about the Arab world. Yet, the reality is, religion is an important influence upon the cultures of this region. Whether one is a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew, their religious identity impacts greatly upon them. In today’s world of varying types of communication at work, how does religion and new forms of social media interact – and what is the impact of each of them on the other?
Frankly, it is a cop-out to explain everything in the Arab world according to religion – it reduces people to automatons that are defined solely by a text, without any effect from the time and place they live in. Yet, the reality is, religion is an important influence upon the cultures of this region. The idea of existing in this region in some sort of protected space where religion does not enter at all is virtually unthinkable – at least at this point in Arab history.
Dr. H.A. Hellyer, non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, is a Cairo-based specialist on Arab affairs who previously held senior posts at Gallup and Warwick University.
This article was originally published on Al Arabiya English.
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