To our Readers,
2010 was marked by dramatic changes brought on by the internet. It was hailed ‘The Year of Facebook’, with its founder Mark Zuckerberg named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. A fictionalized biography of Zuckerberg’s life, The Social Network, just swept the Golden Globes Awards last weekend, and Facebook has seen its membership grow to over 500 million users – larger than the population of any country in the world, save China and India.
Towards the end of the year, the world’s attention was riveted on WikiLeaks, headed by Julian Assange, which introduced a new form of guerilla journalism that called for more transparency from both political and corporate leadership. WikiLeaks granted individual whistleblowers the power to publicize confidential information about government and corporate mishaps, allowing for miscarriages of justice to come to light.
In the past week in Tunisia, the coup d’état of Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali was coordinated and broadcast through Twitter and Facebook, eventually bringing worldwide attention through Aljazeera’s coverage. These social media tools have also allowed for news of the uprising to spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, with copycat protests happening in Libya, Algeria and Egypt.
As the internet allows for increased networking and communication, it has also added an entirely new dynamic to the global Muslim community. The power of connecting people from across the world is enormous. Political strategy can be shared by activists across country lines; a student of knowledge can read classical books on their personal laptop. Used appropriately, the power of the internet is vast. At VirtualMosque.com, we seek to provide a platform for sound, balanced and moderate Islamic teachings. Our vision is for a virtual masjid where the theological and spiritual problems that plague the ummah can be discussed, as well as to provide a space where people can converge to have elevated discussion. Therefore, we are launching a new “Islam and the Internet” series, to be posted every Sunday over the next few weeks, which will explore a range of topics such as:
- Da`wah in the Age of iPhones
- The Fiqh of Facebook
- Pursuing Islamic Knowledge Online
- Avoiding the Social Ills that Pervade the Net
- Shaykh Google
- Spiritual Purification for the Muslim Blogger
While there is so much more that still needs to be discussed and understood about how the internet is revolutionizing the world, one thing is clear: the potential for Islamic work in this medium in unparalleled. As we move forward towards utilizing new avenues for community development, we pray Allah blesses our work and guides it, and that the technological revolution will mark a new golden age for our global Muslim community.
– The Editors