بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In my article about Muslims in the media, I mentioned how a network of bloggers, Youtubers, and internet activists can change the cultural landscape and make minority ideas mainstream. Here’s a quote:
Currently the blogosphere is divided into several sub-spheres, which further divide into sub-sub-spheres almost ad infinitum. Most of the spheres out there are too insignificant to matter, but several of them have gained traction. These include: the leftist/progressive sphere, the feminist sphere, the manosphere, the alt-Right, the atheist sphere, the conspiracy theory sphere and more. This list is not exhaustive, but the above are what I currently understand to be the most powerful and relevant to Muslims today.
I was pleased today to come across an example which corroborates my claim. See this clip of a lecture by influential orthodox Sunni thinker Abdul Hakim Murad (Timothy Winters):
While Winters is an original and sharp thinker to be sure, most of the ideas espoused here have been developed in a formerly obscure part of the internet called the Manosphere. Other than the Islamic considerations he mentions, virtually every other point originated with, or at least has somewhere been mentioned by manosphere writers. Their sphere has grown now to where these issues are being brought into the public consciousness (Winters mentions there being articles about it in mainstream outlets like the Atlantic.) People who have never heard of the manosphere, are unfamiliar with any of their thinkers and writers are now subconsciously consuming the fruits of their mental womb, without even realizing it.
In fact, an article was written on a popular manosphere/alt-right website called Return of Kings specifically on the topic that Winters covers, and mentioning virtually all the major points he covered (although not quite as eloquently, diplomatically, or Islamicly.) Here’s an excerpt from an article entitled “Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a Social Justice Propaganda Film.”
Whereas with other major Force-wielders in the series their abilities have previously developed or are developed over years, Rey seemingly does it in less than 12 seconds, rather than parsecs…In the case of Anakin Skywalker in the prequels, by contrast, we learn that he is the only human pilot to engage in pod racing. His mechanical know-how has been honed over some years, culminating in his construction of both his own pad racer and the droid C-3PO. And when he destroys the droid control ship above Naboo, it is largely as a result of his good fortune, not just long-acquired skill. A decade later and with continuous training, he additionally fails to best Count Dooku on Geonosis.
The article goes on, adding some sarcastic humour:
Another female stormtrooper reports to Ren about the failed attempt to locate Rey. And, after years of pretty much male-only recruitment, the New Republic’s affirmative action policies have been copied by the First Order, with large numbers of female military panel operators, technicians and officers.
While I don’t agree with the white nationalism inherent in the article, it does cover many of the same points that Winters does, albeit within the framework of an ideology that is at clear odds with Islamic principles. What’s interesting is that this article seemed to have actually done practical damage by calling for people in the alt-Right to boycott the film. This is a model Muslims should emulate when fighting for our Divine moral principles. In an article entitled “Star Wars Lost $4.2 Million Because Of Our Reporting That Identified It As SJW Propoganda” an estimate is given:
Fifty-five percent of respondents to a Return of Kings Twitter poll have said that online reporting of the social justice nature of The Force Awakens influenced their decision whether to see the film. Extended across our readership, with over 900,000 users accessing ROK between November 21 and December 21, this amounts to a potential direct impact of $4,219,456.54 (55% x $8.38 x 915,482) on total revenues
While this estimate was no doubt concluded based on faulty methods, even if they caused a fourth of the claimed damage, it is still significant.
I am not at all criticizing Dr. Winters, I think he has done exactly what our ulema should do; take contemporary problems and issues and explain the Islamic positions on them. This article was intended to show that alternative media sources have the capacity to draw attention to particular issues such that even Muslims are forced to address it from the Islamic perspective.
If this is the case, then why can’t Islamic alternative media sources be the ones to draw attention (and provide solutions for) the problems of hedonism, consumerism, godlessness, etc. to the mainstream? Why can’t we influence public thought into seeing these for the negative things that they are? With Allah’s help it is possible to help people see the behaviours that they are currently engaging in that only harm their own happiness level.
Secondly, a personal realization I had when writing this article, is the importance of economic warfare in the modern world. The boycott strategy is so powerful that BDS campaigns against Israel are now illegal in Canada. While Zionists may think this is a victory won, they have only exposed their weakness for us to strike at like an injured deer. I will perhaps write an article about this in the future, but what I would say would possibly have serious repercussions I am not currently prepared to deal with.