Islam in the Echo Chamber: Ahmadiyya and Shi’a Identities in Indonesian and Malaysian Online Discourses

in Asiascape: Digital Asia
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This article traces the usage of scholarly categories in online public discourses in Indonesia and Malaysia. I make two main arguments: First, digital dissemination and discussion of such categories accelerate and distort the reductions that are part of scholarly work. Second, these reductions in online debates contribute to a homogenization of positions on Islam on the level of actors as well as the level of arguments. Muslim authority on matters of creed has become more monopolized by a small group of scholars since the mid-2000s, and a broad spectrum of positions has become concentrated into a few homogenized group identities. This homogenization is driven by the increased use of new media, especially the internet. One effect of this is that more extreme positions on Islamic interpretations have become acceptable in the public spheres in Southeast Asia.



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