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Religion Library: Sunni Islam

Vision for Society

Written by: Nancy Khalek

It remains to be seen how this type of technology will affect communication, learning, and the spread of ideas throughout the Sunni world. This may not be a universally positive set of developments. Without the relevance of local attachment, it can be easy for dogma to replace doctrine, for one financially or economically dominant group to disproportionately affect the education and learning of the broader society.

It has already become evident how images of and from Saudi Arabia have come to dominate Western perceptions of the Islamic world, in spite of a numerical minority of Muslims from the Arab world.  Technology could just as easily facilitate the imposition of a single vision for society as it does the availability of a number of visions.  Much as Iran is the cultural heart of the Shiite world, Saudi Arabia has been the largest producer of pedagogical and educational materials for the Sunni Muslim world. The fact that in many Muslim countries, the great bulk of populations are comprised of young people mean that these types of cultural centers are especially significant for the generations coming-of-age in the 21st century. There is no doubt that the vision for society that is being formulated in the contemporary world is enormously affected by the intensity of globalization, and by particularly volatile political situations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Study Questions:
     1.    How does Islam interact with other faith traditions?
     2.    Islam is often characterized as spreading by “the sword.” Why has scholarship determined this was not entirely true?
     3.    Why is hard to develop a single vision for Sunni Islam society?
     4.    How has technology helped Islam spread in contemporary society?


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