UC Berkeley seminar: Politics and new media in the Muslim world

Our own Wajahat Ali moderated a panel discussion on “Politics and New Media in the Muslim World” on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at the University of California, Berkeley and sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Southeast Asia Studies. As described by CSAS, the “forum examined the new forces that have emerged, and transformations that have occurred, following the rapid expansion in the use of technology and new media, particularly by younger people, in talking about political issues and political change in different parts of the Muslim world. The speakers represent a diverse range of perspectives and are composed of practitioners and activists as well as journalists and scholars.” Speakers included the following:

Mohamed Abdel Dayem is Program Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York. Before joining CPJ in 2008, Mohamed Abdel Dayem worked for the Save Darfur Coalition; for the National Endowment for Democracy, where he managed the Iraq portfolio; and for Human Rights Watch, where he conducted research and media outreach on countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Abdel Dayem has an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.

Haroon Moghul writes an influential and popular blog focused on issues concerning South Asia, the Middle East, Islam and Muslim Americans. His novel, The Order of Light, was published in 2006. He is the Director of Public Relations for the Islamic Center of New York University, and is currently also pursuing a Ph.D. in Middle East Studies at Columbia University.

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad is a Malaysian politician who has been actively involved with Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the Malaysian opposition party led by Anwar Ibrahim, since he was a teenager. He was elected to the legislature in Selangor state in 2008, as a member of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, and as the youngest candidate to contest a seat in those elections. He currently serves also as Political Adviser to the Chief Minister of Selangor, and is a member of the Executive Committee of his partys youth wing. He attended the prestigious Malay College Kuala Kangsar and studied law at Kings College, University of London. In England, he was Secretary General of the Malaysian Law Students Union and was a representative to the National Union of Students in 2005, where he was active with other British Muslims in the Federation of Students Islamic Societies for the UK and Ireland. He has had his own website since 1997 and began blogging in 2001. He also contributes a regular column to Malaysian Insider, an online news source.

Muhamad Ali is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Riverside. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii where he wrote about the dissemination of Islamic knowledge in Indonesia and Malaysia during the colonial period. His recent research has looked at varying manifestations of contemporary Islam in Indonesia, focusing particularly on religious pluralism, as well as the meanings of state reactions to radical or heretical movements.

Huma Yusuf is the Features Editor of Dawn.com, the website of Pakistans leading English-language daily. She reports on media trends, terrorism, and human rights for Dawn, The Christian Science Monitor as well as other news organizations. She is a graduate of MITs Comparative Media Studies program, where she worked as a researcher for the Center for Future Civic Media. Her recent writings examine the interplay of new media and democracy in Pakistan as well as the importance of community radio stations in combating terrorism.

Zahed Amanullah is Associate Editor of altmuslim.com


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