Islam and Data Science Roundup

  • Gary Bunt, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, will give a lecture titled “The ‘Allah Algorithm’: Interpreting Islamic Influencers’ Online Responses to Covid-19” on September 8th as part of the Ali Vural AK Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University’s “Covid-19 and Muslim Religiosity” webinar series. In this lecture, Professor Bunt explores the impact of online Islamic pronouncements in the light of Covid-19, including how organizations and platforms respond given the continually shifting religious and media contexts. He discuses that this relates to wider discussions on the contestations on issues of representation and religious authority in cyber Islamic environments. Professor Bunt claims that this is 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. He identifies how digital technology has shaped how Muslims across vast territories relate to religious authorities in fulfilling spiritual, mystical, and legalistic agendas. He poses the question of whether responses to Covid-19 represent a turning point for Islam and Muslims on the internet and concludes that this Covid-19 situation has highlighted how millennials and digital natives respond more in some cases to aspects of online authority than ‘analogue’ equivalents, impacting everyday concepts of religious knowledge and identity.

Leave a Reply