Media technology and the Muslim world are interesting collaborators. Cassette-tape propagation of Ayatollah Khomeini’s sermons provided important precursors for the Iranian Revolution. Likewise, Facebook and Twitter offered political leverage in the Arab Spring developments. For observers, social media, in particular, is potentially changing the dynamics of the public sphere in the Muslim world.
New media technology provides a “third space” where some Muslims who are using social media to contest gender assumptions, normative aspects of religious practice, and cultural experience. In this context, YouTube offers such a space as an informal meeting place to create community and to express new identities.
Muslims around the world are familiar with YouTube as a source of religious information from well-known Islamic personalities. Now, rather than YouTubing for religious instruction from Dr. Zakir Naik, for example, some are uploading for creative expression, a small number of Muslims are contributing to a new aesthetic of Muslim videography to express personal creativity and observations–mostly through satire or parody–on issues they face in daily life.
One of the more interesting dynamics is the emergence of Muslim women taking to YouTube to “talk back” on issues of identity and Western assumptions concerning the female experience.