College of Islamic Studies leads discussions on contemporary social issues in Muslim societies
Researchers from the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently presented their study on the interactions and effects of social media on Muslim youth during the 12th International Conference on Religion and Spirituality in Society, held at the University of Cordoba, Spain.
Bayan Khaled, Research Fellow, and Iman Ismail, Research Assistant, at CIS, presented a research paper titled “Exploring the Nexus between Islam, Social Media and Youth: A Study of the Tripartite Connection”. This was the result of a joint, year-long study to address the current literature gap around this nexus by considering how Muslim youth interact with social media for religious reasons. They considered three forms of interaction: sharing information about Islam, engaging in community building and self-exploration, as well as activism.
The exploratory study combines a review of existing literature with data from a youth survey conducted in the summer of 2021. Using the findings, Khaled and Ismail aim to further understand and contribute insights on how social media can be leveraged more effectively to reshape the negative perception of Muslims perpetuated by mainstream media.
Potential future research areas could consider the influence or impact of social media on young Muslims, comparative studies between young Muslim males and females, and case studies of influential Muslim public figures on social media.
Speaking after the conference, Ms. Ismail, said: “Given the complex influence of religion on upbringing, outlook, and social interactions, our study set out to examine the ways in which social media has aided in the socialization of religious communities. Having the opportunity to present our findings at an international forum was an excellent experience and we were able to listen to the diverse perspectives from scholars of other disciplines and regions.”
Ms. Khaled said: “We look forward to expanding the study and developing much needed scholarship on the interactions between social media and Muslim youth in the region. These are efforts that will also further CIS’s aim to contribute to critical intellectual debates on Islam in a global context.”