Salafist Third Spaces and Hybridic Purity on YouTube

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Susanne Stadlbauer Resident Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA,

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This case study applies aspects of third space theory (; ) to investigate the activism on the YouTube channel Salafimedia UK (smuk) and their claim to be the self-proscribed “truest” and “purest” Islamic sect. This chapter introduces the somewhat paradoxical concept of “hybridic purity” – an emerging ideology that seeks to encompass pre-modern Islamic practices of the salaf (“predecessors” or first generations of Muslims) as the purest form of Islam (see also ); modern values of individuality and reliance on the “self”; the affordances of the YouTube channel; and resistance to present-day Western cultural and political values, especially those of the United Kingdom (UK), as well as to the UK government’s censorship and bans of Salafist movements. This hybridic purity becomes authoritative as it compels YouTube audience members to take responsibility for their own growth and activism as pious Salafists.

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