In an earlier post here on Inside Islam, we discussed “Understanding Islam Through Virtual Worlds,” a documentary in the online world of Second Life. The term we used to describe the project — “digital Islam” — is actually a popular term. In fact, a research project under the same name follows similar developments more broadly. As the tagline for Digital Islam says, the site follows “research on the Middle East, Islam, and digital media.”
In her memoir, The Bread of Angels, Stephanie Saldana wrote about an Italian Jesuit who restored a tenth century monastery near Damascus, and then dedicated it to Muslim/Christian dialogue. Father Paulo was recently forced into exile by the Assad regime, but he’s back. Stephanie joins us with an update.
Art and Islam: Interview with Ken George
Many of the world’s greatest art works are inspired by religion (for example, Leonarda da Vinci’s The Last Supper) and arouse an almost religious sense of awe (think of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings). This close relationship between art and religion is very much alive in contemporary Indonesia, home of the largest Muslim population in the world. Nobody understands this better than Kenneth George, UW-Madison professor of anthropology and author of Picturing Islam: Art and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld. Prof. George talked with Inside Islam about his diverse experience with Muslim culture, from living in a small rural Muslim community to working with cosmopolitan Muslim artists and urban intellectuals. Continue reading