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date: 29 March 2023

Muslims and Social Media in North Americalocked

Muslims and Social Media in North Americalocked

  • Rabia KamalRabia KamalDepartments of Sociology and Anthropology, University of San Franciso


Islam in North America is an incredibly diverse phenomenon with a long history and a range of different perspectives on what “American/Canadian Islam” is or should be. While the presence of Islam in the United States dates back to the transatlantic slave trade, Muslim identity in the region is often linked to an immigrant presence and became synonymous with a sense of violent foreignness after the 9/11 attacks. Mainstream Western media has played a fundamental role in the configuration of Islam as the ultimate cultural “other,” leaving Muslims who strongly identify as Muslim and American or Canadian in a precarious position. Representation and debates around Muslim identity have recently shifted to online platforms. Social media has not only impacted how Islam is practiced in the United States and Canada but has also influenced self-presentation, community building, and activism among Muslims across ethnicity, race, generation, and class. From Quranic websites and Muslim dating apps to blogs, Instagram influencers, and Snapchat fatwas, North American Islam has developed a burgeoning presence across the digital landscape. Furthermore, social media provides a central space through which national politics and policies play out, and Muslims in particular have faced challenges ranging from Islamophobia and religious persecution to digital surveillance and censorship. Such phenomena have impacted the online activities of Muslims and deeply inform the day-to-day lives of Muslim communities across the region. Through exploring the various ways in which Muslims in these minority contexts experience the growing interrelationship between their on- and offline lives, we approach the digital as a space where culture is continually produced, performed, and contested.


  • Islamic Studies

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